Kingdom People Living By Kingdom Principles – Part 4

When one finds meaning to life, he or she will find it easier to deal with issues of death and dying, pain and suffering. The pastor has to take the lead role in helping to change the pre-conceived notions about end of life issues of the community, beginning with the congregants.  Since the average life span is increasing, the pastor should play a more active role in educating the congregation about these issues.   The internal structures and systems of the church have to include pastoral care with emphasis on end of life and death and dying issues. We have to become “missional” from a holistic framework without losing the basic understanding of mission as laid out in the Bible, addressing the body, soul, and spirit. The individual has a soul, which we are preparing to meet God in eternity, but he or she also has to live in this life and both body and spirit need to be ministered to, thereby completing holistic missions.  When the structures and systems of the church are addressed from a holistic point of view, then the church will be more successful in bringing the Gospel Message to the community.  This message is wrapped in the principle of love; we must love God and love each other.  Jesus said that if we do not love, then we are not His children.  This is important because it is only the children of God that will inherit eternal life with God.  John wrote in his epistle in 1 John 4:20, “If someone says, ‘I love God’, but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” This principle of love is critical to the understanding of the missional church.

The challenge as to how to be truly missional requires those persons who consider themselves to be disciples to engage their communities in their everyday lives.  This has posed a challenge to the church: how will missions and being missional in the 21st century be different from the 1st century to the 20th century? How can one truly and radically live out the mission of the Church? To capture the full essence of missions, we should look:

1) To raise awareness by helping to clarify the nature of the structures and practices of the church relating to its missional focus;

2) To develop a better awareness of local missions;

3) To develop a process that will assist persons to live out the mission by engaging their communities.

The idea of being missional is not about the church coming up with some program and fancy name, but more so, it is about understanding the needs of the community – spiritual, social, financial – and how to live in ways that can help transform the community.  Every person must begin at his or her own doorstep.  According to Dave Black, the practical application of missionary congregations is actually to “live out their spiritual life not only as the Church, but also as God’s people in the world.[1]”  According to Rick Warren, “The Church is God’s people living in this world and acting as catalysis for change.”[2]  The Church’s basic mission is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God; this message has social and political aspects to its application.  We are called, commissioned, and authorized to go with the gospel.  This is the fundamental responsibility of the Church, but this message is holistic, and affects the total person: body, soul, and spirit.

[1] Dave Black is currently Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina., Accessed 6/2010.

[2] Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Church, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1995), 238-40.

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