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. http://www.daveblackonline.com/why_church.htm, Accessed 6/2010.

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

Kingdom People Living By Kingdom Principles – Part 3


Part 3

As the Church develops a comprehensive and practical understanding of missions, this will propel Christians to act out their missional call.  For example, this message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ transforms not only Cornelius, but his entire family, and Peter as well, as stated in Acts 10.  God was the underlying connection between Peter and Cornelius.  God is both sending the seeker, Cornelius, and preparing the messenger, Peter the missionary, the disciple.  This circle of missions is the thrust of the project; it begins with the call of the Church and then the commissioning of the church.  As the Church carries the gospel to the world the Church is being transformed and then is re-commissioned.

Refocusing the mindset and view of missions requires change.  In order to foster a new paradigm we must deal with the issue of change within the Church with regards to the understanding of missions.  How does understanding the theology of change contributed to this process?  Theology of change refers to the understanding of all aspects of change and the philosophy that is buried in this word “change”.  We have to consider several aspects of change but will maintain as the foundation, what I term, the Circle of Missions.  This involves looking at the community where the work of missions is carried out, the congregation where training is done and the core (people) that is doing the work of missions.   Change is the agent that gets one from one quadrant to the next, form community to the core.

While there are many stories of individuals throughout Church history that have demonstrated a holistic approach to missions; our time is not void of individuals that are continuing this process.  These individuals are demonstrating in practical ways the Biblical understanding of missions and the Kingdom of God.  They are from different backgrounds and operate in different parts of our culture but are stirred by the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s mission.  Lives are being transformed and the Kingdom is expanding.  The application of Biblical missions will result in transformation, growth, and will bring glory to the name of God.

The Church must take the lead in being holistic in its approach to mission.  Fulfilling the call of mission requires the Church to approach this call from a holistic point of view.  The Church has done an excellent job in preparing people for the afterlife; but one of the areas in which we are lagging behind is preparing the church for end of life experiences and even traumatic experiences.  In order to address these issues adequately there has to be a deliberate effort taken to look at the religious structures and spiritual practices at work in the context of the community the church is ministering.  I believe issues of death and dying, euthanasia and Advance Directives as discussed by Dr. Martha Jacobs[1] in her book a Clergy Guide To End Of Life Issues is important as it relates to missions.


[1] For an informed discussion on end of life issues and information to assist the pastor in educating the church read Martha A Jacobs book, Clergy Guide to End-Of-Life Issues, (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2010), 17.

Kingdom People Living by Kingdom Principles – Part 2


As we deal with the issue of living out the missional call  the Church has to effectively deal with the attitudes of the congregation to be more “holistic” in their approach to missions, while being theologically consistent with the Biblical mandates. It will require an understanding of the theology as it relates to missions: Church, world and Kingdom of God, this is call the holistic approach.  There are several themes that are illustrated in the Bible relating to different aspects of missions that can be seen throughout Church history as documented by Henry Chadwick in his book The Early Church.[1]  Two of these themes are the understanding of the main object of mission and the structures involved.  Jan A. B. Jongeneel also defines these in his book, Philosophy, Science, And Theology of Mission in the 19th And 20th Centuries.[2]  We have to have a solid theological foundation that rest on the gospel message dealing with the Great Commandment, Commission and Compassion.[3]

It is therefore helpful to explore some of the definitions that are used to define missions, since these definitions are somewhat slanted to the theological view of the authors; it is pertinent for anyone or group that is embarking on the journey of being missional to posit a working definition that will follow them throughout their journey.  One cannot define missions without defining the Kingdom of God.  As we seek to clearly articulate this meaning it will be helpful to consider these meanings as they relate to eschatology (study of end times) and the ecclesiasticalogy (study of the church).  Entrance into the Kingdom of God is clearly defined in scriptures; what is its meaning within this context of your journey?  Of a fact, the full gospel message is about is about Restoration is the focus of the new era; Gabe Lyons in his book The next Christians spoke about telling the full gospel story, God’s story: creation, fall, redemption, restoration and ultimately consummation.[4]

Church History is a hidden treasure of practical and demonstrative information relating to missions and the Church’s understanding and application of missions.  The early Church took the commission very seriously because they believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime; armed with this conviction they wanted to take the gospel message to the entire world as they knew it.  The foundation of the early Church was about advancing the Kingdom of God by spreading the gospel message.  Throughout Church history there were many who benefited from the advancement of the gospel and they were sometimes willing supporters because of other reasons apart from the gospel.  What they found were that people were converted into the Kingdom of God and living a life that was admirable and these new converts became responsible citizens, workers, neighbors, and employees.

In the first 100 years we saw the purely Jewish Christian Church developed into the majority Gentile Church.  It was the Apostles’ commitment to the Great Commission empowered by the Holy Spirit that led to the spread of Christianity during this time.  They were also obeying the Great Commandment and demonstrating Compassion but the foundation of their missional quest was the Gospel Message.  Later, The Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church took up a similar thrust and once again missions were at the forefront of their endeavors.  The birth of Protestantism came from a desire to become more like the Christ of the Bible.  They originally were not actively involved in missions because of their efforts to codify their doctrines during the reformation.  On the other hand, the benefits of their sound doctrines and the codification of these doctrines was the catalyst for the future generations of Protestantism who were now adequately armed.  Their desire for missions as their focus, led to the spread of the Gospel everywhere they went.  While the effect of their actions was originally felt in the west and the subsequent colonies, it later spread throughout the rest of the world, literally.  Historically missions had at its core the gospel message; everything was done to advance the gospel.

We more forward to the Great revivals and the birth of Pentecostalism where these periods were marked by the desire to be like the Christ of the Bible and those involved in these movements participated in missions, as they perceived it with emphasis on the gospel.   There is an ongoing struggle for those who are seeking to be true to Jesus’ command to present a holistic missional approach to the gospel.  As the Church grew, some sections were more tilted towards just the commission, others were more tilted towards compassion and still others were more focused on the commandments.  However, there is a consistent theme that undergirds all of the generations throughout Church history and that is missions’ main purpose is to bring the gospel message to all those who have not yet received it.  These missionaries would travel to foreign countries and suffer great feats determined to see the natives transformed and accept the message they brought.  They were holistic in their approaches; focusing on the Great Commandment, Commission, and Compassion.  The holistic approach to missions is necessary to fulfill the call of God on our lives.


[1] For a more detail information on this subject read Henry Chadwick book, The Early Church (The Penguin History of the Church), (Revised ed. Boston: Penguin (Non-Classics), 1993), 13-20.

[2] Jan A. B Jongeneel, Philosophy, Science, and Theology of Mission in  the 19th And 20th Centuries: A Missiological Encyclopedia: The Philosophy And Science Of Mission (Studies in the Intercultural History of Christianity), (2nd Rev ed. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2002), 88-93.

[3] See Ed Stetzer’s post at  http://www.edstetzer.com/2012/03/monday-is-for-missiology-credo.html for a look at some efforts to define missions.

[4] Gabe Lyons, The next Christians: the good news about the end of Christian America. New York: Doubleday Religion, 2010.

Kingdom People Living By Kingdom Principles – Part 1 of 7


Reflection of Missions

The challenge to be truly missional requires that persons consider themselves to be disciples, and begin to engage their communities in their everyday life, to be incarnate.  This has posed a challenge to the church and seeks to answer the question: how will missions and being missional in the 21st century be any different from the Colonial Periods? The challenges that seem to be facing the local churches are similar to those which face the North American Churches.[1] Some of these challenges are diversity of the harvest, an increasingly large harvest, lack of harvesters, lack of focus in the Church, a dying Church and an unclear presentation of the Gospel. In the Book of Luke chapter 10 verse 2 it reads, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  This was Jesus’ view of the many souls that were not saved.  This picture is true today of the North American Church and begs the question “Has the Church lost its focus of the Great Commission?”  Many churches are declining, and even dying, while the ‘unchurched’ population is increasing.  Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson state that three denominations – Assemblies of God, Nazarene, and Southern Baptists – all reported a decline in their membership.[2]  While many churches in these denominations are growing the greater portion is declining.

We do not have to travel miles and overseas to some foreign country to locate the mission field.  Right here, literally in our backyards, the world has come to us, as Sadiri Joy Tira, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization senior associate for Diasporas, said, “The world has become borderless.”[3]   The next challenge that Jesus identified was that the laborers are few (Luke 10:2).  Many churches lack disciples or self-feeders (Christ-centered persons) that are harvesters.  According to Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson in the book entitled Come Back Churches, 70 to 80 percent (70-80%) of North American Churches are in decline and 3,500 to 4,000 U.S. churches close their doors every year.   To be truly missional requires a holistic approach that includes the Great Commandment, Great Commission and the Great Compassion, this I call “The Circle of Mission”.  It is about ministering to the total person and requires an investment into person’s lives of our time and our finance.


[1] In their book Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples, Geiger, Eric, and Thom S. Rainer, researched and present a clear and detail picture of the North American Church community.  The book is published by Kiev Russia: B&H Publishing Group, 2006.

[2] Mike Dodson,  and Ed Stetzer in their Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can, Too evaluated 300 churches that were declining and undertook a process that led to their turn around.  The book is published in New York by B&H Books, 2007.

 [3] Sadiri Joy Tira, “Evangelism vs. Missions” Christianity Today, July 2010.

Kingdom People Living By Kingdom Principles: The Call of Missions, A Holistic Approach


The challenge to be truly missional requires that persons consider themselves to be disciples, and begin to engage their communities in their everyday life, to be incarnate.  This has posed a challenge to the church and seeks to answer the question: how will missions and being missional in the 21st century be any different from the Colonial Periods? The challenges that seem to be facing the Yonkers churches are similar to those which face the North American Churches.[1] Some of these challenges are diversity of the harvest, an increasingly large harvest, lack of harvesters, lack of focus in the Church, a dying Church and an unclear presentation of the Gospel. In the Book of Luke chapter 10 verse 2 it reads, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  This was Jesus’ view of the many souls that were not saved.  This picture is true today of the North American Church and begs the question “Has the Church lost its focus of the Great Commission?”  Many churches are declining, and even dying, while the ‘unchurched’ population is increasing.  Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson state that three denominations – Assemblies of God, Nazarene, and Southern Baptists – all reported a decline in their membership.[2]  While many churches in these denominations are growing the greater portion is declining.

We do not have to travel miles and overseas to some foreign country to locate the mission field.  Right here, literally in our backyards, the world has come to us, as Sadiri Joy Tira, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization senior associate for Diasporas, said, “The world has become borderless.”[3]   The next challenge that Jesus identified was that the laborers are few (Luke 10:2).  Many churches lack disciples or self-feeders (Christ-centered persons) that are harvesters.  According to Ed Stetzer and Mike Dobson in the book entitled Come Back Churches, 70 to 80 percent (70-80%) of North American Churches are in decline and 3,500 to 4,000 U.S. churches close their doors every year.   To be truly missional requires a holistic approach that includes the Great Commandment, Great Commission and the Great Compassion, this I call “The Circle of Mission”.  It is about ministering to the total person and requires an investment into person’s lives of our time and our finance.


[1] In their book Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples, Geiger, Eric, and Thom S. Rainer, researched and present a clear and detail picture of the North American Church community.  The book is published by Kiev Russia: B&H Publishing Group, 2006.

[2] Mike Dodson,  and Ed Stetzer in their Comeback Churches: How 300 Churches Turned Around and Yours Can, Too evaluated 300 churches that were declining and undertook a process that led to their turn around.  The book is published in New York by B&H Books, 2007.

            [3] Sadiri Joy Tira, “Evangelism vs. Missions” Christianity Today, July 2010.