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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

17 Jul '12

Is your primary focus on your church or community - and what it says about your Kingdom perspective

Posted by T.J. Addington in church health, ministry growth, missional, vision
How large is your vision for what God could do and wants to do in your city and community? 


When you think about it, that is a very different question than "What do we want God to do in our church?" The first is outward focused and a Great Commission question while the second is an inward self focused question. 


In many places, one can grow a church with little impact on the community of which that church is a part. Most often that is through transfer growth from other churches. And it makes us feel successful. But is that truly success? What impact does Jesus want our congregations to have on the community at large of which we are a part?


Last evening I met with a small group of believers who are praying for Berlin, Germany. Their prayer is for a result like what happened in the planting of the church in Ephesus where the text says that "the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor" and "in this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power (Acts 19:18-20)." Bear in mind that this was a totally pagan context, like Berlin today.


Can this happen in a place like Berlin? Can it happen in a place like yours? I believe the answer is yes - but with certain qualifications.


It will not happen if we all focus on our own church. It will not happen if we don't work together for the sake of the Gospel in our communities and cities. It will not happen if we are unwilling to work together across denominational lines. Most fundamentally, it will not happen if we are building our own kingdom (our church) rather than Christ's Kingdom (impacting our whole community). It will not happen until we lose our pride about doing our own thing and humble ourselves to work with others to do God's thing. And it will not happen without the very real power of  God behind this God sized effort.


Fortunately in Berlin and in a number of places globally including the US, there are churches who are starting to think differently. They are placing the Bride of Christ over their particular Brand. They are thinking in Kingdom terms rather than provincially about their church only. They are focused outwardly rather than inwardly with a coalition of the willing to bring the Gospel to their community and city and make the name of Jesus well known and His reputation great.


Where does this start? With pastors and church leaders who will see their communities through the eyes of Jesus and who realize that a God sized vision is not a vision for their church but for their community and their city. I don't find very many of those kinds of leaders but when I do I celebrate them. What about you and your leaders? Are you thinking about Gospel penetration of your community or simply yourselves. If the former what are you doing in practical terms to make it a reality?


Are you church centric or Gospel centric?