The title of today's blog is "My Kingdom or God's???" because although God's kingdom is what we desire to grow through The Pathway, if we don't change the way we are approaching "church" we will continue to focus on growing our churches kingdom instead of the Kingdom of God.
Here's what I mean. If we continue to approach evangelism, discipleship and church planting the way we do right now (and when I say we I mean the majority of evangelical Christians) then we have no hope of impacting the rapidly growing number of lost people living in our nation and North America as a whole. The way we approach these subjects right now is entirely too systematic. Why? Because that's the way we have been taught to think.
We think we have to learn something completely and become an expert before we reproduce it. There are a couple problems with that. If we have to be fully discipled before we begin to make disciples we will never make disciples. If we have to become a self-sustained church that has a "mature" believer who is seminary educated before we can plant a new church, we will never plant any churches (or maybe 1 in our lifetime if we're lucky).
Here's the idea and the paradigm shift that has been occurring in my life and the life of our church. What if we all began sharing our faith weekly (daily would be better but we'll get there) and did not worry about having all the answers or finding ourselves in the perfect relational situation? What if we just shared our faith with the lost people around us and trusted God to do the saving? Then, what if we began discipling these new Christians? What if we began teaching them how to pray, read the Bible and share their faith the day after they got saved? Then, what if we did not wait for them to understand it all, be competent at Bible drill, or even be able to fully articulate the doctrines we strongly believe? What if as we are teaching them all of these necessary aspects of discipleship we challenged them to start sharing their faith weekly (or daily) and begin discipling those in their life that find Jesus? Why don't we do that?
The answer is fear and control? Number one, we are honestly afraid of what these new believers might teach the lost. Although that concern is genuinely motivated it is completely erroneous. If we are continuing to disciple that person they will have someone to come to with the answers to the questions they have and your responsibility becomes keeping them one or two steps ahead of the people they are discipling. This issue leads right into the issue of control. As believers, and especially as pastors, we feel like we have to control the church and the environments in which the Bible is taught and ministry takes place. Again, although this is rightly motivated (at times), it is not biblical and it has no hope of impacting the vast lostness we see in our world today.
So, what do we do?
We have to decide whether we want to "control" what God is doing or if we want to see a "movement" of God. I believe a true movement of God that I have no control over resembles what God did in the book of Acts far more than an impressive church where I call the shots (even if it is growing and succeeding by "our" standards).
Do I have this all figured out? No. What I pray is that we would all be challenged to quit sitting around making excuses, waiting for the perfect scenarios and instead that we would simply start sharing Jesus with people and teaching them to share Jesus with people! What a concept... kind of sounds like the Great Commission to me?!?!