Kingdom Thinking for Today – Part 3
[A few weeks back I released a teaching that feels like it was notable for this new era. I started sharing this with you on July 1st.]
God is making leaders think differently – if they are really embracing God’s heart. God is talking to them about apostolic centers versus building in an old, local church model. These apostolic centers will be regional in vision and mission, not primarily congregational. They will love and pastor the city and region, not just a congregation. God had said to me, “You think I have 300 churches in a city, but I only have one. I understand that you see from an earthly perspective and even see reasons for many congregations to exist, but you need to know that in My heart, they are one. I see one church in the city with many parts. The well-being of one is not greater than the well-being of the whole.”
So, I felt the Lord was saying that even though your own group is prospering, if the city is not prospering, don’t feel like you are successful. If you’re the father of a family with eight kids and one or two are healthy, you don’t feel like you have a healthy house. This is the way the Lord challenged me to begin to think. He challenged me to get out of my box that allowed me to measure success based on how well I could lead and how much success it appeared we had.
Pastors and leaders are always measuring themselves among themselves. Corinthians says that if you do that you are a fool. When people asked me that question after the Lord taught me differently, I would look at them and say, “Not very well. We’re divided, not accomplishing very much, not getting too many people saved.” They would usually then ask what size my church was. I would reply, “Oh, I don’t know, probably a couple of hundred thousand.” As they kept probing, they would realize I was talking about the Church in the city and my region.
God started forcing me to care as much about my city and my region, even the other churches of my region, as much as my own. He then made me do things to prove it. He didn’t let me give lip service to this. He told me that He would let me know when He determined that I had grasped the concept. He even had me give my salary to other ministries, evangelists, and intercessors who were watching over the city better than we were. He had me do this until I realized that the “whole” was more important than the part.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ… The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’ In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary (1 Corinthians 12:12, 21-22; NLT).”
Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:
Let us humbly repent for being very self-centered about our churches, only caring about our own church or ministry.
Repent for any lack of Kingdom-focus, especially if you are a pastor or other leader.
Repent for any speaking against other churches and ministries in your city, judging them or speaking ill about them to others.
Repent as a leader if you thought of your own church as the best one in the city, but have ignored the smaller, weaker ones. Ask yourself if you did that instead of working with them to reach your city.
Tell the Lord if you are willing to have Him change your mindset to a Kingdom mindset. Get ready to see His blessing come to you.
A prayer you can pray:
Father, today needs to be a day of repentance. We have come to a place in time where You are going to press us to think differently. We love You and want to follow fully in Your ways, so please change our thinking in this matter. Forgive us for only caring about the church we lead or attend. We repent for not having a Kingdom-focus, but limiting our focus to what we are a part of. How self-centered we have been! Forgive us for even speaking ill of other churches. That is not the kind of thing You directed us to judge. You want Your Church to work together to advance Your Kingdom in a place. Therefore, forgive us also for going too far with denominational preference. We have looked down on others and refused to work with them because we didn’t completely agree with their “flavor”.
You see one church in a city meeting in many locations. The churches are filled with so many giftings given by the Holy Spirit to advance the Kingdom in our region. How would we ever think we could do that only with the gifts represented in our one congregation? Help us to see the big ones and the small ones as critical to the calling and mission of our area. There are so many lost to be saved that they couldn’t all fit in one church if they all began to come to Jesus. We need everyone on board to evangelize, disciple, teach, train, and counsel. The Church is the answer to society’s turmoil, but we are fighting with one another! We need to stop! Change our mindset, Lord. Make us Kingdom-advancers, not just church planters. Amen.
My church is only as healthy as the Church of the city meeting in many places.