Most folks in the post-Christian south (likely also all over the west) still approach the church as consumers rather than givers. This is due to many factors historically and sociologically that are not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post, however, is to highlight key shifts that have to take place if a church is going to go after the kingdom of God and not the latest hot trend to get consumers to come in.
Do not misunderstand, I want TRC to grow as large as we can possibly grow. I’ll take mega church if the Lord would grant it to us. What I would never want to happen is for that growth to come via consumers of the big biz of Christianity rather than a band of people looking to expend their lives for something worthy.
We talk about “domains” as a key piece of our spiritual DNA at TRC as a way for our people to expend their lives in a worthy manner. Domains are created components of society created by God to give order to life. An example would be “medicine”. Medical science is a domain that God created because he made humans as biological creatures. Because of the curse of the fall, image bearers need medical assistance until Jesus brings all things back under his rule through the discipling of the nations and the full establishment of his rule and healing forever.
Engaging the domains of society is our strategy for local and global disciple making. Engaging domains releases the entire church to be everywhere. Engaging domains is every Christian, everywhere, all the time. Engaging domains is efficient, equal and biblical. The Great Commission is not given to special forces Christians while the rest of us throw money at them and clap for them wondering how we could ever do that kind of work. The Great Commission is given to the entire church. We have to make sense of that biblical fact. Our strategy of domains is how we do that. However, in order to implement that strategy, there are some key shifts that have to take place. The first shift is “from needs to assets”.
What this shift means is that our people and potential members (whether new Christians coming into the church or those transferring from another fellowship) can’t approach TRC with the mentality of receiving a product. Folks have to approach the church with the mentality of having assets to give away for the advancement of Jesus’ kingdom.
Here are some implications:
- This shift is less organizational and more how we view each member and how the members view themselves as valued Great Commission Christians. We don’t view one person as more valuable than another. We see all followers of Jesus as Great Commission Christians and we expect each one to hear and obey Jesus in is mission. There is really no room for someone who does nothing to serve and advance the kingdom. Kingdom work is not a spectator sport.
- This shift recognizes each Christian’s unique set of skills and gifts as given by God for his good purposes (Ephesians 2:10). If one is in Christ, they are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared for them beforehand. We have to discover that.
- This shift requires people to know their gifts and “vocation” (calling). This is not discovered in a standardized test. Rather, this is discovered as we live covenant life together as members of a church together, serving each other, loving each other, studying Scripture together, listening to the Spirit together and obeying together. This is the place where Spirit gifting takes place and skills are uncovered. They can’t help but be given and discovered.
- This shift makes me evaluate whether or not we have a proper relationship to our community. Do we know it? Do we live in it? Do we contribute to it? Do we know it’s needs? Are we aligning our assets with its needs?
- This shift makes us act as a value provider not simply a volunteer. Not that volunteering is bad. It’s fine, but volunteering may or may not leverage one’s skills and gifts in the most effective way. I can fold clothes and prepare them for distribution, but what if I’m a skilled financial planner? Is that volunteer opportunity really using your assets to the max?
- This shift requires each person to make disciples. Yes, disciple making is not what happens on the magic plane ride to a foreign land. If one does not make disciples here, they won’t make them there. The plane ride does not transform anyone. Disciple making abroad starts by disciple making at home. God uses the local domain engager to engage globally. There is no way around us doing solid evangelism.
- Domains open the world to us. There is no such thing as a closed country to a professional, skilled in their labor, who engages well with the gospel. The world is an open door for those who see themselves as assets rather than one who is seeking to get served.
Think on this. If you are a TRC member, keep getting after it. If you are not, and would like to know more, we can come and teach you about what we do and how. We will be doing another KDSC training in the fall. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org