In spite of my extensive theological and mission training, I never looked at the church through the lens of the Kingdom of God during my days in school. In seminary, I read George Eldon Ladd’s classical book, The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God. However, as a student, I had little ministry experience to put the academic content into focus.
As I reflect on the subject, I think, subconsciously, when I heard the words, “My Kingdom is not of this world,” what little thought I gave to the subject may have been interpreted something like this:
“Jesus said, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world.’ That probably means that one day I’ll die, and, as a believer, because Jesus died for my sins, I will be with Him in His Kingdom, which is in heaven. After all, in the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth, just like it is in heaven.’” (I focused more on “in heaven” than “on earth.”)
During the last ten years, I have focused much of my study time on the Kingdom of God, and what it means for the health and vitality of the local church. My focus? “How Kingdom of God teaching impacts every Christian to reach others.” This has led to the greatest spiritual and practical breakthrough of my thirty-five year career as a church consultant. My focus has been on the church’s effectiveness to reach people for Jesus Christ. This will be the subject of my next book. It is now the subject of a new workshop called, “Energize Your Church for Impact.” It describes the value of the 30-month spiritual adventure for churches, called Healthy Churches Thrive! Kingdom-of-God-thinking has been a major influence among churches field testing Healthy Churches Thrive! We have measured significant results in strategic elements of the churches involved.
This is excerpted from Are You Weird? Jesus’ Counterintuitive Kingdom — July/August 2015 Church Doctor Report.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.