How does the church interact with the Kingdom of God? Is the Kingdom something we can push forward, something we can advance ourselves? Or is it something already brought forth by God in Christ Jesus that we enter into and receive?
In chapter 4 of the Missional Church, on page 95, the author writes that when the church seriously considers the “reign of God as a gift one receives and a realm one enters [it] restrains our cultural instincts to think of the reign of God as something we achieve or enlarge.” The reign of God never was and never will be a product of man. It’s not a trophy and it’s not our property. It does not belong to us and is not something we earn. As the author later states, the reign of God is something that is “given.”
If this, then, is true, how do we act in response? The difference in how churches view the Kingdom of God can more often than not be found in the difference between program oriented churches and community oriented churches.
Program oriented churches seem to view the church as an institution and the Kingdom, or Christ, as its product. Their programs are their methods and for every successful program they check another item off the list, believing that with perfected programs comes a perfect church. Saying this, there are many good church programs out there. But it is the reason behind them that matters. For example, a community oriented church sees the church as an organism, and does a better job of seeing the Kingdom as something they have received. The programs they have are for building people up in Christ and an effort to partner with Christ in his work. These churches live to walk with Christ together, as a people.
My question/s is this:
- How do you transform a church that sees the Kingdom as something it does, and missions as part of a program?
- How do you go into a wealthy, afﬂuent, middle-class, suburban church that exists in its own comfortable bubble and convince or show the people there that the Kingdom of God is a way of life they have entered into?
- How do you show them that being missional implies a lifestyle?