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XIII. Kingdom leaders gravitate toward the complexities and challenges of cities. Church leaders gravitate toward lives of isolation and inward focus.
Before the Civil War, when the American church preached the kingdom message, the church was able to draft the founding documents of this great nation, and start schools and Ivy League universities, all for the purpose of placing godly leaders in society as the future presidents, governors, mayors, scientists, artists, writers, etc. The church took the lead in cultural reform.
But after the horrible experiences of the Civil War the church lost hope in the kingdom being manifest on the earth and started to focus on the imminent return of Christ and the rapture. This resulted in American culture being lost to secularists in one generation!
This turning away from the kingdom message led to church leaders isolating themselves from the looming threats of biblical higher criticism, Marxism, Darwinism, the infiltration of non-WASP immigrants, Sigmund Freud and psychology, and the Industrial Revolution. These brought many pressures upon the nuclear family as men had to go into the cities to find work. Instead of engaging the culture and these challenges head-on, the American church started looking for escape and changed its theology! The present move of God is finally bringing the church back onto the biblical footing of the kingdom message.
XIV. Kingdom leaders equip people for life. Church leaders equip people for church life.
Kingdom leaders inspire and equip the saints to serve in their cities as salt and light, to be like Daniel and Joseph who prospered and held significant leadership roles in the midst of pagan systems and kings.
Church leaders train people to be good altar workers, ushers, Sunday school teachers, Sunday preachers, etc.
XV. Kingdom leaders honor Jesus’ dual role as Redeemer and Creator. Church leaders separate redemption from creation.
Kingdom leaders realize that the Jesus who died on the cross (John 3:16) for the sins of the world (John 1:29) is the same Jesus who created the world (John 1:3-4).
When we apply the Word of God to culture we are embracing Jesus’ ownership of the whole world. But when we preach the cross of Christ only for individual sinners and do not also apply it to the created order we separate the Redeemer from the Creator!
XVI. Kingdom leaders are forward thinkers. Church leaders long for the past.
Kingdom leaders are excited about the future advance of Christendom in every facet of life and for every nation. They are excited over the increasing influence of Christ in culture. They train believers to replenish the earth by placing godly leaders in the realms of science, art, media, education, economics and politics. The sky is the limit for them!
Those with a church mindset long for the past, when life was much simpler and everyone in a community embraced the role of Christianity in culture. They do not like the vast complexities that social fragmentation has presented because it distracts from, and interferes with, their nice and neat Sunday church attendance parish structures.
XVII. Kingdom leaders apply their faith to the earth. Church leaders are focused on escaping the earth and making it to heaven.
The Bible is essentially not a book about heaven. It is not concerned with another geographic location whether spiritual or physical. It is mainly concerned with the person of Christ and His rule and dominion in the cosmos (read Ephesians 1:9-11)! Because of this, the Bible is the most practical book about life on the earth that has ever been written! Kingdom leaders understand and embrace this reality.
Church leaders emphasize heaven since they have no real sense of purpose to give to the majority of their congregants who are not called into full-time church ministry.
XVIII. Kingdom leaders envision the building of universities with theology serving as the “queen of the sciences.” Church leaders envision the establishment of church-centered Bible institutes that avoid liberal arts and the humanities.
XIX. Kingdom leaders are entrepreneurs. Church leaders are stuck in maintenance mode, merely holding their ground until Jesus comes back or they make it to heaven!
XX. Kingdom leaders pray for revival to bring people into the church and reformation to place believers as leaders in world systems. Church leaders merely pray and believe for higher attendance on Sundays.
XXI. Kingdom leaders work for cultural transformation. Church leaders focus on waiting for the rapture.
Jesus told the church to occupy until He comes. Kingdom leaders are busy strategizing how they are going to start schools of government to train political candidates, start businesses to create wealth to expand the kingdom, and develop educational programs to break cycles of poverty for at-risk children.
Those with a church mindset do not get involved in quality of life issues because their theology doesn’t allow for it! They think it is like arranging the chairs on the Titanic because the world will soon end when the antichrist takes over!
XXII. Kingdom leaders train their children to walk in biblical dominion in society. Church leaders’ highest hope is that their children don’t fall away from the faith!
Kingdom leaders have dominion as the primary goal for their children. They don’t teach their children to get secure jobs in big companies; they teach them to become the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies! They don’t teach them how to fish but how to own a lake! They echo the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 28:10-13 that teaches believers are called to be the head and not the tail, to be above and not beneath, to lend to many nations and not to borrow!
Church leaders take a defensive posture with their children by merely praying that they would not fall away from the faith. Even many who teach apologetics and biblical worldview are stuck in the church mindset because they are only teaching their children how to defend the faith instead of also how to advance the kingdom!
XXIII. Kingdom leaders empower the poor to own the pond. Church leaders give the poor some fish.
Kingdom leaders understand how to break poverty mindsets over people by equipping them to create their own wealth. Church leaders have an entitlement approach in which they merely feed the poor instead of equipping them to start their own businesses or work in high-level positions that will enable them to be prosperous for the sake of the kingdom!
Joseph Mattera has been in full-time ministry since 1980 and is currently the presiding bishop of Christ Covenant Coalition and Overseeing Bishop of ResurrectionChurch in New York, a multiethnic congregation of 40 nationalities that has successfully developed numerous leaders and holistic ministry in the New York region and beyond. Click here to visit his website.
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