A church planter I read about is starting autonomous simple churches. The planter says, "This is not a plan to grow (our) traditional church, it's all about the kingdom because the church is not an end in itself." He continues, "The task of the church is to equip our members for kingdom living in the world." Another person says, "We are now, not church-centric but kingdom-centric."
What's the difference? Church-centric, or sometimes called, 'pulpit-centred' churches are mostly about what goes on within the walls of the building - especially on Sunday morning! To be kingdom-centric is much more about what happens outside of the church walls - answering the prayer Jesus taught us to pray....."Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..."
Jesus also emphasises that the church is not an end in itself. In fact he makes it clear in Matt. 16:18, 19 where he says, "I will build my church...and I will give you the keys of the kingdom." Peter used these keys to open the kingdom to the Jews, Acts 2, and to the Gentiles, Acts 10. I've likened the purpose of the church to our schooling system. A school is not an end in itself. The end is to equip our children for adult life, especially their chosen careers. It would be hardly normal to stay at school for 20 + years and never get immersed in the real world, and never discover ones' calling in life. I have heard of a person who spent 26 years in various schools and was too nervous to face the real world. I've also known people somewhat similar in a church rut!
So what does all this have to do with us living in this modern age? What should we be doing? Here's some short answers - you fill in the gaps:
- Meet with other kingdom-focused believers to follow the Heb. 10:24, 25 instructions.
- Consider your position in life, at home or work a kingdom calling - equal to any so-called 'spiritual' or 'full-time' ministry.
- Expect God to enable you to demonstrate kingdom principles and practices in your sphere of influence.
- Pray, as Jesus taught us, for God's kingdom to come and his will to be done in your "earth" as it is in heaven.
One writer encourages us to, (Understand) "the pure resolve of being focused on one thing—God’s kingdom—and discovering how this one-track mind-set clarifies our calling in life, invigorates our everyday, and deepens our relationship with God and with others."
Your feedback is appreciated and welcome.
You're welcome too to 'forward' this 'Simple Church' Letter.