Missional Implications of the Kingdom of God

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Missional Implications of the Kingdom of God

In his excellent book Doing Spirituality Vineyard author, pastor and teacher Alexander Venter explores the reality of the Kingdom of God, and what understanding it means in terms of missional implications. I’ve collected these implications here, because I think this is a really helpful summary.

Followers of Jesus learn to see and do all four in a wholistic-integrated way of receiving the Spirit in his/her full work, as a seamless garment, in living the kingdom.

Power Encounter: The kingdom always comes in power; in dramatic ways like Lazarus coming out of the tomb, and in hidden progressive ways like the tiny mustard seed growing into a big tree. Both are miracles! The kingdom is power-encounter. The Spirit’s power defeats Satan’s power, bringing the new Exodus of salvation, healing, deliverance, and new creation. The Spirit comes with prophetic charismata (gifts), supernatural signs and wonders (Is 11:1–3, 61:1–3), empowering the church to do its ministry and mission. The church is the community of the kingdom: its instrument and witness on earth. 

Personal Transformation: The kingdom comes in power, transforming us as individuals and communities of faith. Salvation is being born again with God’s Spirit, who purifies and changes us from inside out. Spiritual life and growth, in progressive sanctification to Christlikeness, is the heart of the gospel of the kingdom – the new covenant work of the Spirit of Holiness (Ezek 36:25–27). The missional purpose of the Church is to be God’s community of kingdom formation and spirituality, preparing Christians with the character needed to rule and reign with Christ in this age and the age to come. 

Social Transformation: The kingdom comes with power to transform individuals and, through them, societies and nations, even creation. The kingdom works through Christ-followers as salt and light (Matt 5:13–16)in society. People are reconciled to God, and one another – as in racial, cultural, political, economic, gender, and generational reconciliation. And, ultimately, with creation, as in ecological care in anticipation of the earth’s renewal. The kingdom engages society at the levels of symptomatic relief (mercy ministry), root causes (justice advocacy) and social care (community development). It’s all part of the Spirit’s work of creation renewal (Gen 1:2 cf. Ps 104:30). This is the church’s social-missional dimension. My book Doing Reconciliation is a kingdom theology and praxis for social transformation.

World Mission: The kingdom comes with power, transforming individuals and societies with a view to reaching all nations so that the end may come (Matt 24:14). The ultimate mission is kingdom advancement through evangelism and church planting, and Christian missions of all kinds, to all nations, till Christ returns. It’s the missional function of the Spirit bringing God’s end-time salvation to “all flesh” across all barriers, that “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Joel 2:28–32 NRSV). It’s doing church as Jesus intended, as he commissioned his disciples in Matt 28:18–20. Used as a guide for church planting, my book Doing Church is an exposition of how to be and do church from a theology and praxis of the kingdom.

The fourth missional implication loops back to the first, the power encounter of the kingdom advancing to the ends of the earth. The circular movement of these four, like a wheel, rolls from Jesus and his first followers through church history, gaining momentum – with progressive kingdom breakthrough in the tension and warfare of the already and not yet – till Jesus returns.

Power Encounter. Personal Transformation. Social transformation. World Mission. I think that is a really helpful summary of what the Kingdom of God means for us practically. You could summarise it another way – preach and demonstrate the Gospel, see sinners transformed into saints, then go on to change those around them, repeat until the ends of the earth. I love it!

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