I actually think the church is healthy and growing worldwide. It is popular, and somewhat appropriate, to “bash” religion right now. Old wineskins are continually being exchanged for new and that process has historically been painful and contentious. What is unfortunate is that it’s hard to put down the abuses of religion without smearing the church and her leaders with the same broad brush. If we understood the purpose of church more clearly, we could be a lot more effective in becoming that spotless bride we’ve been promised.
Equip the saints – The purpose of the church is extremely simple: equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:11-12). The church isn’t really our goal; it’s a tool to equip the saints. Our real objectives are to make disciples of nations (the great commission) and our first priority is to seek the Kingdom first (Mt 6:33). When we understand those purposes and priorities, it makes all the arguments about the size and style of church irrelevant. Everything from house church to mega church has been shown to be viable in maturing the saints. Making an argument for which is best usually misses the real point of getting people out into the Kingdom. The premise of all of these arguments is the misconception that our goal is church. Church is important, but there are six other mountains that are also important.
Mountains – The product of saints equipped in the church is believers functioning in one of the seven kingdom mountains. Lance Wallnau does a great job of explaining the seven mountain concept. The idea that the church will change our culture or impact our cities is simply false. The church will produce disciples who will impact our culture; business, entertainment, media, family, government, and the arts. Expecting pastors to sponsor a revival in order to change the world and do all of that for us is unfair and unworkable. I think we’ve already proved that point empirically.
How to equip the saints – I think pastors and churches are doing a pretty good job of equipping the saints. People are getting saved and baptized and discipled in all kinds of church sizes, formats, denominations, and nations. New believers become fluent in scripture and functional in spiritual gifts. The one thing we could improve is to help these same saints take one more step into the mountain of their destiny to make a “nation changing” difference. The one thing we can greatly improve is helping people touch their own heart’s desires (that God put there) to connect the dots between their vocation, mountain, ministry, and finances. The disciples a church produces should know and function in their Kingdom destiny in a way that creates wealth and does ministry to impact our cities and cultures.
Example – I met David last summer. He’s a 6th grade teacher who lives about 30 miles from my home and attends the church where our next conference will be held. We did an introductory session in the church for Kings a couple months back and I attended David’s home group 4 or 5 times for people that were interested in Releasing Kings. I was shopping for people to go through the coaching module prior to the conference and David was interested. He completed his module via 3-4 hours on the phone (probably 5 conversations over a 3 week period). Let me share a little of his story.
David is about 40, has 4 kids, a beautiful wife and home, and he really enjoys his job. He was named Teacher of the Year for his state several years ago. When we started the module he advised me that his heart was in the education mountain and that the financial part of the message wasn’t relevant to him (I shelved that comment for later). David is happy with his church (which has a vision to win their city) but was less than thrilled with some of his prior church experiences. He was a little prone to be critical of the church because it wasn’t meeting his desire to impact the schools. Early in our conversations I got him to own his responsibility to identify his role in the Kingdom and stop whining about the church. His goals for job and family were healthy and his finances were in good order.
At first, David couldn’t make a connection between his teaching job and ministry. He felt held back by authority figures (a heart boundary): over any aspirations to teach in church, and by school officials and politics to do anything spiritual with his sixth graders. He also thought that the church should do it.
“I was prone to want to bring the church into the school somehow to make my desire happen: mentoring from the local churches, faith-based afterschool program, clubs, etc., rather than allowing myself to be a King and allow the Kingdom to operate primarily through me, my heart’s desires, and my vocation. After this course correction, I was then able to formulate my students’ learning objectives to match district goals, and discover the time and resources I already had at my disposal to put a plan into action.”
David finally gave himself permission to fulfill his Kingdom desires instead of waiting to for a man to give him permission and waiting for the church to do it for him. We agreed that a sixth grade version of coaching might be fun to try in his class. So he began to share the seven mountain concept in terms of students identifying their vocational heart’s desires. This led to discussions about their educational goals, and stirred their motivations to live the life of their dreams instead surviving from paycheck to paycheck. They got so excited about the process that the buzz they created in the hallways prompted another teacher to ask David what he was doing, and wanted to follow his lead. Now, two classes of sixth graders are excited about Lance’s 7 mountain mandate and Releasing Kings. David is journaling this version of coaching a class setting in way that can be shared with other teachers so that his dream to “coach” sixth graders can be duplicated in the school, the district, the city, the state, the nation and the world. He has already talked with another teacher in a Christian school from Pakistan.
Releasing Kings – David’s story illustrates a simple point. When the church gets a disciple to transition from servant to friend (Jn 15:15) and get in touch with his or her dream, a mountain can be impacted, a culture can be changed, and a nation can be discipled. Kingdom-minded believers (Kings) are very powerful.
PS: After completing his cash flow, David agreed that creating wealth would facilitate his vision for the education mountain. Now his focus is on “how to” instead of “whether to.” There will be testimony of success in this area of his life as well. Stay tuned. He’s even teaching the kids cash flow!
What did David do? – In the steps below, we’ve outlined 7 things you can do to tap into your mountain. The tool I like most is our coaching module. It will help you find your own heart’s desire and implement it in a practical way. One of the biggest keys is writing your heart’s desires and plans on paper. Put your mind to work on that project and, when it’s in writing, use your mind to discern that it really is God’s plan, too.
Your dream is worth some one-on-one time with someone who can encourage you and help you to make it real. I was that person for David. Just like David, your destiny is worth it! Putting your dream first is putting the Kingdom first. There really is a place where your heart and God’s heart overlap. That’s where “life” begins.
- Read Releasing Kings and Desire to Destiny (See our store page or Amazon.com).
- Get the free newsletter, connect on Face Book to stay in touch. We use Skype to talk to people all over the world. Networking is a huge Kingdom dynamic.
- List to the sound… Beverly Lewis and I discussed Kingdom impacts in an interview, “Have fun, make money and love people.” Listen to the recorded version here. Ray Edwards and I did a second interview that is just as good. Both are about an hour and give a great summary of marketplace ministry. Attend a conference if you can.
- There are two newsletters that summarize key elements of Releasing Kings: Have Fun, Make Money and Love People and A Kingdom Primer.
- Go through the coaching module and clarify your dream – we can help you if you’re stuck.
- Get connected with a coach or mentor who can help you take the next step.
- Create the wealth and convert the money into your ministry dream to build the Kingdom.