Tuesday, 28 August 2012
KINGDOM VS CHURCH MINDSET
Believers who sincerely want to bring about significant change to the fabric of society need to go beyond thinking church (their own local church). They need to widen their perspective and put on kingdom lenses.
What is the Bible’s view of kingdom? The kingdom is any place where God has authority and dominion. It is not confined to a particular place (read church building). Also, kingdom values are relevant to all and not only for a select group (read clergy).
Developing a kingdom mindset enables believers to influence and impact the community. Advancing His kingdom is, in effect, extending the realm where His authority and dominion reside.
When believers step out of the church’s four walls and get involved in lunch-hour office fellowships, community clinics, thrift shops, dialysis centres and street feeding programmes, they are truly making a difference in the community.
Author Eric Swanson believes that a church should not just grow to show off its size and strength but to expand its capacity for service to the community. Such a church is internally strong but externally focused.
Rick Rusaw, co-author (with Swanson) of the book, “The Externally Focused Quest – Becoming the Best Church for the Community”, shared how, whenever he flies, he likes to “move from the aisle seat to the window seat” to get a better view of the scenery.
By analogy, Rusaw challenged the church to shift its focus from the aisles to outside. It’s not about becoming the best church in the community but for the community. “Changing seats is always difficult — especially if you’ve been buckled in the aisle seat for decades,” he wrote.
Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth with a Mission (YWAM), shares what he calls the “Seven Mountains of Culture” — Family, Church, Education, Media, Arts and Entertainment, Business and Government — that believers can make a difference in.
Linking it to Jesus’ concept of the kingdom (Luke 17:21), he points out: “The kingdom is in your heart; it’s within you. Whenever Jesus is on the throne of your heart, the kingdom has come. And when you go into a sphere, the kingdom has come into that sphere.”
Now why mountains? It is based on what Caleb said in Joshua 14:12: “Now give me this mountain …” Like Caleb, believers can claim these spheres of influence as their inheritance.
A missionary is one sent by God on a mission. Whether you’re a school teacher or a missionary who goes to a foreign land to witness, you are sent by God. Whatever you’re called to is holy, be it “secular” or “spiritual”.
Ed Silvoso, best-selling author of Anointed for Business, defines marketplace as a combination of various entities: business, education and government. He believes that the church is not just an organisation but “an organism created by God that needs to permeate the marketplace.”
The call to be “separate from the world” (2 Corinthians 6:17) does not require us to withdraw ourselves physically from the marketplace to be in the company of believers in church.
Rather, it is a call to see ourselves as chosen people who have been changed from within. We are in the world, but not of the world (1 Peter 2:9). We have to go into the world to function as “salt” — to slow down the process of decay in the world.