Once you make the commitment to being a Public Church and begin to expect and equip, you have to then make a decision about how and where to expend the passion and energy of your staff and congregation. The choice you make will define what kind of church you will be known for: either a kingdom-building church or a castle-building church. What does that mean you ask, they both sound slightly medieval? To better understand the choices we face, let's take a look at our model congregation, the Acts 2 church.
For last couple of decades, churches have proclaimed the label that they were an "Acts 2 Church." It sounds biblical for sure, but are they totally sold out to the commitment that the first church modeled? After Peter launched his ministry, filled with the Spirit on Pentecost, we read in Act 2:42 what this first congregation was all about. In verse 42 we see "they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." In this verse we see another aspect of this community: "they sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need." And finally in the last two verses, 46 and 47, we see their daily habits of "every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
These six verses spell out some specific activities that Peter and the Apostles led the first church in that continued the kingdom building ministry that Jesus taught them. Studying scripture, giving to the needy, sharing meals, worshipping, and connecting with their community were prescribed as their kingdom-building habits. What you don't see is a trustee's meeting to determine the cleaning contract for the church building, because they didn’t have a building. I don't read anything about a Staff-Parish Relations Committee that critiques Peter's every move and recommends his replacement every winter.
Now before you get bent out of shape, I get it, we have to be good stewards of our resources and hold each other accountable. But, the question we have to ask ourselves is how much energy and effort is our congregation investing in these "Castle-building" activities versus the passion and energy we need to be pouring into the "Kingdom-building" activities demonstrated by the Acts 2 Church.
Ok, the Apostles did take us down the rabbit hole when they appointed the first deacons in Acts 6. But, hear what The Twelve shared with the people in verses 2-4:
These seven people were chosen to serve the widows, orphans, and needy of the community so that the Apostles could pray, teach, and lead! They were selected because they were "full of Spirit and wisdom" not to be used to make decisions in a monthly board meeting, but in order to be humble, witnesses for Jesus. How do you find the Kingdom builders in your church and then encourage and equip them? Stay tuned to our next blog for a Kingdom Building blueprint for your church!