My personal journey toward marketplace ministry and this Kingly mindset started with four aspects of theology, and it changed my perspective on being entrepreneurial and contending for the Kingdom. We carefully wrote about these four topics in Releasing Kings, part 2. My theology felt like those global warming glaciers for a few years… big chucks of my traditions cracked off and fell into the ocean. Most of us are going through a transition and we’re allowing our hearts more freedom “and” we’re finding the will of God already written on our hearts my the Holy Spirit!. We see “heart liberation” a lot in our conferences and coaching. BTW Harold has a brand new Systematic Theology out that addresses the four areas below and more in Father Son Theology.
1. Thy Kingdom Come – I originally made no distinction between Church and Kingdom. I felt that business and politics were kind of “dirty” and tried to keep myself focused on God in my church. Now I understand that the Church equips the saints for the real work of ministry in our cities and culture. The Church is in the Kingdom, but it’s not the entire Kingdom. Now I’m celebrating politicians and business leaders who are building the Kingdom in our culture.
2. The nature of God – My tradition was that God controlled the future, and my job was to obey his leadings. Now I understand God’s sovereignty to mean that he can and does control some future events, but He makes room for us to manage or steward much of our own lives. Knowing that, I’m much less passive and more assertive or entrepreneurial about… everything. In addition to Releasing Kings you can read more on this topic in Who Is God by Harold Eberle.
3. The nature of man – My tradition emphasized that man is basically sinful and needs a redeemer. That’s true, but it’s not the whole story. When we get saved and mature, the Lord starts writing on our hearts. In fact, we’re created with specific gifts and talents that fit nicely in His and our plan for our lives. Now I pay attention to the desires of my heart and I often find the will of God already present. We wrote a prior newsletter on the Gospel of the Kingdom and Harold wrote a great book entitled Precious In His Sight.
4. Eschatology – When I was in college, I believed Jesus would return before I graduated. Since then, I’ve dropped my dispensational views and realized that we’re not going anywhere until the whole earth is filled with His Kingdom Glory. I’m no longer hiding from world events, waiting for the rapture. I’m changing the world. Harold has lots of details in Victorious Eschatology.
Life Application – Sound doctrine has ramifications in very practical areas. Joseph Mattera did a great job of summarizing those ramifications in the following 12 points. I’ve added some edits. Our goal isn’t to dismantle the existing church or criticize our pastors. We just need to personally give our hearts permission to get involved in the Kingdom.
1. A kingdom mindset encourages all saints to be ministers in the marketplace. A church mindset merely trains people to serve in a church building on Sundays. We can serve the church and really enjoy it while our own vision is taking shape. I see a lot of believers in their early 30’s moving toward their heart’s desires and their personal calling in the marketplace. That doesn’t mean they want to leave the church.
2. A kingdom mindset creates wealth to transform a community and nation. A “church-only” mindset motivates giving to build our own church programs. There is plenty of money and ministers to do both.
3. A kingdom mindset is a holistic approach that integrates the gospel with politics, economics, and public policy. A church-only mindset insulates the gospel from politics and public policy.
4. A kingdom mindset views the Bible as a blueprint for good news in every aspect of society. A church-only mindset views the Bible merely as a pietistic book that enables us to escape the world (often via rapture), enter heaven, and be spiritual.
5. With a kingdom mindset we embrace and love our surrounding unchurched communities. With a church-only mindset, we’re prone to only embrace converted individuals within our faith communities.
6. A kingdom mindset trains all people for all of life including their vocation. A church-only mindset trains people only for church life. We should honor those who labor among us in the local church “and” celebrate the exploits of Kings in the marketplace at the same time.
7. A kingdom mindset nurtures leaders who are world changers and “cultural creatives” who articulate truth to society. A church-only mindset nurtures leaders who speak religious language relevant only to church people. We’re prone to get way too introverted and assume our gifts only have expression within the four walls.
8. A kingdom mindset speaks of the rule of God over the entire created order. A church-only mindset speaks of the rule of God through deacons and elders over those in a church congregation. It’s easy to get entangled in a bunch of rules that make us look irrelevant to our culture.
9. With a kingdom mindset, pastors encourage and value vocational callings and ministries of their people in the marketplace. A church-only mindset controls people by marginalizing their marketplace callings and emphasizing only Sunday ministries. Our job is to make disciples in church without being afraid to “direct” them. But someday they mature and we need to release them as Kings in the marketplace pursuing the desires God has placed in their hearts. No one can just plug into the church, and tithe and listen to sermons for the rest of his life life. If we don’t release their hearts as Kings, we lose them to boredom. Their dreams wither and die.
10. A kingdom mindset applies a Spirit-empowered approach to the natural world. A church-only mindset involves a spirituality that separates from the natural world. We practice in church to be equipped and do the real thing in the Kingdom – at work.
11. Those with a kingdom mindset are working toward a reformation in all 7 Mountains. Those with a church-only mindset merely strive for a particular expression (denomination) of Christianity. We charismatics love revivals and conferences and worship. Now we need to learn how to multiply finances and convert money into ministry and impact our cities and nations.
12. Churches with a kingdom mindset equip 100% of the saints to fill up all things in every realm of life (Ephesians 4:10-12). Those with a church-only mindset have as their primary goal to equip the 2-3% of the congregation called to be full-time church pastors, ministers, and missionaries. It’s fine to have 5-fold ministries in the church; let’s just not forget the goal… to release the 98% of the congregation to do the real work of the ministry outside the church.
Wisdom – The Church is a big ship that will take years to turn. I’ve seen some dramatic changes in over my lifetime. I think it would be wise not to sink that ship in our zeal for the Kingdom. As we find better methods to equip the saints and change the world, we’re not abandoning the Church or her role in making disciples. We’re just finding better and faster ways to release Kings into their own heart’s desires. During my pastoral days in our second church plant, I tried to switch everyone over to marketplace ministry. To my surprise, I found half my congregation didn’t want to. Pastors and churches are not the limiting factor in this transition to Kingdom – it’s me!!! Shouldn’t we expect our pastors to be excited about church? That’s what God has called them to do. If they err a little on the church-only side, that’s OK. I’m more worried about you and I.
My heart is longing for disciples who will release their hearts to embrace the wisdom and anointing required to create wealth, and convert money into ministry. It’s really a lot of fun. Let’s teach them how, in church… That’s what we did in these last two conferences. The pastors we worked with made it all possible. Pretty exciting!