I’m resting up after returning home from a wonderful ministry trip in Vineyard Churches in the UK. I was honored to minister in Plymouth, Truro & Falmouth, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, and Yoevil. My essential message was the four irreducible missional dimensions of the Kingdom of God (the message & ministry of Jesus that defines how we do church).
- Power encounter: Spirit-ministry of healing & deliverance, signs & wonders.
- Personal Transformation: Spiritual Formation of discipleship to Jesus.
- Social Transformation: Holistic engagement in society, as in mercy relief, justice advocacy, community development, ecological ethics.
- World missions: Evangelism & church planting to advance God’s Kingdom to all nations that The End will come (Matt 24:14).
In teaching Jesus’ basic Kingdom framework and explaining the four implications, I focused mainly on the first two – though I emphasized it is a ‘package deal’ and we cannot engage in ‘selective obedience’ (we do all four at the same time). After doing the conferences & seminars in these cities and being with all the leaders and people, I summarise my overall sense in the following seven points:
- Vineyard churches in the UK are on the cusp of a further and new season of growth and expansion.
- There is a feel of vitality and expectation in the face of serious spiritual opposition, dark secularism and divisive social uncertainty. I sense the UK is ripening for a real move of God.
- There’s a need for stronger grounding in a clearer biblical understanding of Jesus’ worldview and praxis of The Kingdom for the health and longevity of what God is doing.
- There is also the need to do succession well by focussing on the younger generation of leaders to train and mentor and hand over authority and power as Jesus did to his apostles and disciples.
- The deliberate turn toward deepening the psycho-emotional health and spiritual formation of the pastors and leaders is very encouraging. Pacing oneself in the easy yoke of Jesus, in what GOD is doing, is key for good sustainability and growth.
- The call of God is to seek first Jesus and HIS Kingdom, then Jesus will build HIS Church. If we focus on building the church it subtlety becomes our kingdom, and we stop pursuing GOD’s Kingdom. If we truly fall in love with Jesus and stay in love with Jesus, it will change everything. This is discipleship to Jesus in the spiritual formation of GOD’s LOVE for us and his world.
- Jesus is coming to his Church in the misty wind and waves of all our years of rowing against the storm of evil and social turmoil. The clearer we see Jesus for who he really is, the more we will step out of our boat of security, of what we’ve known and worked with for so long, and we will walk on water. Fix your eyes on Jesus in the midst of all that’s going on. It’s time to exercise assertive faith and push into the unknown of ‘the already’ of the Kingdom. It’s time to walk on water! Even if the ‘not yet’ overwhelms us and we sink – taking our eyes off Jesus – he is beside us. He reaches out his hand and pull us up to stand with him in faith, in the dynamic reality of his Kingdom come.