Which Great Commission? – I was recently sharing in a local church about life purpose and a lady explained that, “Our purpose is to lead others to Jesus.” I hadn’t thought about it for years, but that used to be exactly my belief. If you asked me to recite the great commission, I would have said it is to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all men… but what the verse really says is to make disciples of all nations.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…. Matt 28:19, Lu 24:47
Our tradition (the gospel of salvation) points us toward getting people saved and building the church alone. The Gospel of the Kingdom has some ramifications that point to marketplace ministry and Releasing Kings. The difference is driven by whether we believe the church and the Kingdom are the same thing, or different.
I originally made no distinction between Church and Kingdom.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 and touching cities and nations.
I’m not defining the Gospel of salvation as bad – we are not leaving any prior beliefs, just expanding the application from an individual-only and church-only focus to include a city and nation focus. It’s a big deal!
The Gospel of Salvation – If our life purpose is the salvation of souls (he that wins souls is wise), then my heart is focused on a vision to grow my local church. My concept of revival is to see miraculous manifestations in meetings, and I love conferences. Worship is singing in the presence of God with such a prophetic anointing that every heart is engaged (this is my favorite example). I’m prone to view secular society as Babylonian systems and I emphasize their Godless corruption. Under this view, my goal for people is to see them get saved, added to the local church and equipped in their spiritual gifts. The mission to reach the lost and grow the church is a top priority in terms of vision, and people in the congregation generally “serve” the church-growth vision in some way at least financially and by volunteering for some responsibility or leadership role in the church. The end state for this theology is usually a rapture up to heaven; an escape from a lost and morally bankrupt culture led by the antichrist.
The Gospel of the Kingdom – Under this strategy, the goal is to disciple nations through believers participating in, and influencing the seven mountains (government, media, arts/entertainment, education, business, church and family). This is an even more effective way to win individual souls, so we are not deviating from the emphasis on individual salvation or the need for a personal savior in Jesus. We are targeting the transformation of cities and nations intentionally. Our definition of revival includes signs and wonders; however, we incubate them in the local church and expect their primary occurrence to be in the marketplace. I still love prophetic worship in church, but now I’m feeling the sense of worship in my work. I feel the Father’s blessing trading alone over my computer and going to Poland out of the overflow – It’s fun! We realize that what happens in church meetings or conferences is simply training to equip the saints for the real work of the ministry, which occurs at work. Our efforts at evangelism targeting Kings in our “gentile” cities and nations is similar to Paul’s expression of the great commission:
“Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.” Acts 9:15 NIV
Reaching out to Kings – We remember the poor and maintain a focus of reaching out to them. However, they are not the sole direction of our outreach. Reaching cities and nations involves working with people who already have influence and affluence in society. We don’t generally view our culture as a corrupt, Babylonian system that we must abandon. We have the faith and optimism to reach it and change it.
Releasing Kings – In addition to supporting local churches and pastors, we encourage people to explore their heart’s desire and make the transition from servant to King (Jn 15:15) and to get involved in the mountain of their calling. We believe that their personal ministry will find its best expression outside the church in their vocation. We help them through the maturing process to connect their spiritual calling with their vocational financial support and their dream. When vocation, ministry, wealth and destiny converge, we see people operating in a level of excellence that is unique, powerful, professional, fulfilling and full of ministry opportunities in the marketplace. Kings worship and bring glory to God through their life’s work.
Saints do the work! – While we add people to the church, there is a viral aspect in the Kingdom… for the simple reason that the work / ministry barrier is broken down and because the saints (not just the staff) are doing the work of the ministry. The end state of Kingdom-oriented marketplace ministry has a role for Kings and nations (which are saved) bringing glory to God:
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Rev 21:24-27 NIV
A Pioneering Season – Marketplace ministry is in a very pioneering stage. Most pastors are open to the idea, but are unclear about how to embrace it. I believe that, in time, we will identify a version of Releasing Kings and helping people find the desires of their hearts that can be used to equip the saints in local churches to the benefit of all: churches, nations, cities and saints.
Is House Church the Answer? – Others see a solution in the shift toward Kingdom as a change from the institutional church to organic, small or house church formats. I do think market place ministry will spawn micro-churches in the workplace. However, I see that as a byproduct of the viral aspect of getting all the saints involved in ministry. I really believe that churches of every kind, size and location will benefit from an emphasis on the Gospel of the Kingdom. Reducing the size of the church and eliminating the building payment doesn’t necessarily connect people with their dream, vocation, wealth and calling to excellence in their mountain as Kings (a Royal priesthood). In some ways it can spawn even more introversion. When our model for Releasing Kings in the church mountain has enough working examples in churches of every size to reach a tipping point, pastors will be on board. I’ve budgeted a decade for the process and it started several years ago. It’s an exciting privilege to be involved in this transition. In the other mountains, Kingdom progress feels a little more like a jailbreak that is well underway.
The Jail-break feel – I’m thankful for new friends in Warsaw who have helped us to see this dynamic in a fresh way. I’m also thankful for Pastor Andrzej and Store House Church for opening a door and modeling the release of Kings. There are people who long to be Kings and make a difference in our world. Their hearts leap when God gives them permission to ask for their dreams and desires. They are running with signs and wonders and salvations in the marketplace already. Their exploits with wealth and their divine appointments with influence are amazing. God is adding people who are getting saved who already have the influence and affluence to make a difference. The Kingdom is within them… their heart’s desires hold the keys to the Kingdom and they are already hungry to bring glory to the King of Kings. We are just releasing something that is already in heaven and needs to be on earth – Freedom to be the unique “you” God created to do great exploits.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Cor 3:17 NIV
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:10 NIV