The Tangible Kingdom

If you are interested in what God is doing through the Missional Church, I highly recommend, The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay.  Below are a few of my favorite quotes:

“We have preached and listened to the preachers who tell us a story we’d all love to find ourselves in, yet we feel the gap between what we hear and talk about and what we experience.”

“ The idea of God’s kingdom is now relegated to the realm of heaven, the afterlife, and we just assume that we won’t get to see God and His beautiful redemptive plan until we pass over. The church therefore becomes something we may not need any more something that at its best is worth only our recreational enjoyment. Our massive hope about God, His Kingdom, and our place in a unique community of people who change the world is all but dead, and we are left feeling like the searcher who wants in but who is reluctant to face the dangers of navigating our collective faith and purpose.”

“I had became a card-carrying member of what I call the “jaded” denomination. You know, people who have a hard time finding coherence between their faith in God and there experience in the church; people who are sick of that same old song, same lingo, same methods, same discouraging results, and same spiritual emptiness. No, I did not leave the church entirely, like 25-million plus and growing, other dechurched Christians are doing in America. But I wanted to. “

“ We want to let you know that the unsettling feelings you are experiencing are ones that hundreds and thousands of people are also working through.” 

“Our goal isn’t to attract Christian people to our worship service but to be the faithful church in small pockets throughout our city. We are creating places of inclusive belonging where God’s alternative kingdom can be experienced.”

“You might expect, therefore, that we ask you to leave your safe harbor and sail off into the stormy seas. But the harbor does not represent safety. It represents God’s kingdom. His life. His reality.  What we believe we should find and what church can direct us to. In actuality, it communicates exactly what we believe is the call of the church: Find and help others find Gods beautiful city.”

 “If Christianity was only about finding a group of people to live life with, who shared openly their search for God and allowed anyone, regardless of behavior, to seek too, and who collectively lived by faith to make the world a little more like heaven, would you be interested?…What people are asking for is the kingdom of God made tangible.”

“Hundreds of thousands of Christians believe you can’t get into heaven without “praying the sinners pray,” even though Jesus granted salvation to many without one reference to a person praying a prayer. Even post resurrection, there is no precedence for praying a prayer as the ticket to eternity.” 

“By starting with Christology (the life of Jesus), which informs our missiology (how we live), we’ll have a better chance of finding common ground with our ecclesiology (how we do church).”

“To move forward, we can’t keep everything we’ve always had. We have to pick what to take, what is absolutely necessary, and leave behind some things that have been important to us. What used to provide comfort now may only take up space or be a hindrance to getting where we need to go… This is right in step with God’s usual way of engaging His mission. He just packs light! He loves to trim off anything that would slow us down, hinder us, or make the journey more difficult….When you don’t have all the “stuff” you’re left with a lot more time to spend with people.”

“Church must not be the goal of the gospel anymore. Church should not be the focus of our efforts or the banner we hold up to explain what we’re about. Church should be what ends up happening as a natural response to people wanting to follow us, be with us, and be like us as we are following the way of Christ.”

“Influence does not happen to us by extracting us from the world for the sake of our own values, but by bringing our values into the culture….We must go out and then let church reemerge as a reflection and the natural outgrowth of our missional way of life…We knew the message would make more sense if you  saw it lived out in our lives.”

“The incarnational big-story gospel will require a place of discovery, where people will be able to see the truth before they here about. This place will not be a location but a community of people who are inclusive of everyone.  These people will be making eternity attractive by how they live such selfless lives now,  and will be modeling life in a New Kingdom in ways that will make it easy for other people to give it a try. People like this are not desperate to convert everyone; they are desperate to be like Christ and to be where Christ is. There heartbeat to be transformed into the image of Christ, and to pray and work for little specks of transformation in everyone and everything they touch. Success is faithfulness. The rest is up to God.”

“I think we should start by looking for ways to witness to this gospel by bringing tangible slices of heaven down to life on earth, and continue to do this until those we are reaching out to acknowledge that our ways are “good news” to them. If you  are really living the good news, you will have plenty of opportunities to explain the theological aspects of the gospel. But if we continue to lead off with words about the gospel instead of acts of the gospel we will continue to jip people… The incarnational way culminates in this primary difference: belonging enables believing.”

“I am not sure how we got where we are, but it’s amazing  that we think our most powerful times, our most intimate spiritual experiences, are supposed to happen within in the comfortable confines of our church services. The biblical evidence is overwhelmingly and is crystal clear that god’s power is most naturally meant to happen “out there”!”

 ‘Remember, Jesus came not to judge the world but to save the world. You can’t save the ones you judge. You can only save the ones you are connected to.”

“Did you know that we are all created with a built in desire to love the world, to bless people?  Way back when…God set up a deal with humanity.  Genesis 12:1-3: “The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

 2 “I will make you into a great nation
       and I will bless you;
       I will make your name great,
       and you will be a blessing.

 3 I will bless those who bless you,
       and whoever curses you I will curse;
       and all peoples on earth
       will be blessed through you.”

Ultimately, Gods offer to us to share his blessing with others is how we find our deepest sense of personal meaning and satisfaction.  Jesus said it this way:For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (Mark 8, 35)… Jesus mentions blessing as giving sight to the blind, captives being set free, debts being paid off, food for the hungry, friends for the lonely, meaningful employment for the discouraged and self doubting,  rest for the weary, and anything else that could be felt or touched on terra firma. The Tangible Kingdom! Blessing wasn’t just nice things you said to make people forget about their problems. It was actually doing something about their problems.”

“The call to community is not about finding people just like us, or at the exclusion of other people. Community in the biblical sense is clearly about unlike people finding Christ at the center of their inclusive life together…Mother Teresa said this: “if you have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we  belong to each other.”

“Consumerism is based on the belief that I can’t help others until I help myself, that my wants and needs trump the needs of others…We all fight the same consumer tendencies, and we must struggle as a community to limit what we need inside the church so others can get what they need in the world.”

“The goal of our missional life is not to grow churches. The goal of the church is to grow missionaries. The goal of the gospel is not to get people to church. The result of the gospel is that people will find each other and gather because of deep meaning of a common experience.”

“In Hebrews 10:24-25, we have the only direct encourage for people to gather: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”  Mission creates meaning and a context for the gathering.”

1 Comment

Filed under Urban Ministry

One response to “The Tangible Kingdom

  1. Pingback: Rva Worship 2010? « Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s