Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kingdom over Empire

Kingdom thinking asks "to whom do I go and how do I reflect Christ when I arrive?".

Empire thinking asks "What must I do to get them to see us and how do I then make them come?".

Attractional thinking is empire thinking - it encourages us to think only in terms of certain regular rites or rituals such as a Sunday service, Bible study groups or sinners prayers. Empire thinking encourages professionalism in public worship, and a way of life that sees numbers as a hallmark of success. It is about showing the world Christ in the hope many will take notice and come to church.

Missional thinking is kingdom thinking - it encourages us to reassess our rites and our rituals, to desconstruct or do away with the uneccessary and to constantly and critically reassess our own lives in light of Christ and the mission he has left for us. Kingdom thinking encourages us to go into the world and to be human, living Christ in the hope some will take notice and want to follow Him wherever it is he wants to take them - and in the process, become the church.


Rick Meigs said...

Good thoughts Andrew. To often we see the work of God as empire building instead of kingdom thinking. How one see this will be reflected in his life I think.

The Creature said...

Thanks Rick. I think it is easy too fall into "empire" mode, but sometimes difficult to express how and why, especially when we are caught up in a system that works this way.

Thanks for dropping by. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Andrew for your blog and for the many excellant articles. I don't normally comment on the things said as I'm often unsure of how to put my thoughts into words. One thing I would ask and its relevant to this article, and thats that you take the time to explain what it is that you are saying when you talk in "jargon". Often I think I'm on the same page but am not necessarily up with the lingo. Again, thanks for this article and the many others that you've put out there, most of which I tend to agree on.
Super Shane.

The Creature said...

Hey Super Shane! Are you the mystery commenter?

Fair call re. jargon words. Maybe you could let me know what jargon words in particular as I am not sure what is jargon and what isn't. If you let me know I'll clarify.

Glad you dropped by - don't stress about the whole "words to thoughts" thing - I know what you mean, sometimes though you just have to dive in the deep end.

Shane - I know you and I know you have many things of value things to offer in these discussions.

Anonymous said...

Andrew these two statements/positions are NOT mutually exclusive.

"To whom do I go and how do I reflect Christ when I arrive?" (What you call kingdom thinking)

"What must I do to get them to see us and how do I then make them come?" (What you call empire thinking)

The first is "Paul" type thinking. The second is "Andrew" and "Matthew" type thinking. Both "Go" and "Come" are acceptable means of presenting the gospel to the world.

The Creature said...

Thanks for your comments Anonymous.

Perhaps you could use a nickname when you post as it is difficult to differentiate between one anonymous poster and another which makes it hard to know if I am responding to the same person! :)

Anonymous said:
Andrew these two statements/positions are NOT mutually exclusive.

At one level I agree. I would say there is a point at which the attractional and the missional/incarnational actually become indistinguishable. As the messengers "go" into the world they are calling others to come to "Christ".

However I also think there is a big difference between the two on a broader level. Most attractional churches are actually more concerned with getting people to notice them and to come to them (i.e. the church) than they are getting people to come to Christ.

Success is measured in terms of the numbers at the Sunday service. The emphasis on "growing the church" is really on growing the Sunday morning service as this is seen as the focal point and the place where the other business - the gospel business - is done. This is empire building and in current times and cultural is/can be counter-productive to genuine gospel work.

Anonymous said:
The first is "Paul" type thinking. The second is "Andrew" and "Matthew" type thinking.

I understand the link between Paul and "going" but am not clear on the link between Matthew and Andrew and "coming". Can you please explain this to me?

How do you see the two different approaches working together?

Thanks! :)