At our last Missional gathering, someone noted that a big theme in emergent/missional writing is that of the Kingdom. For example, there is a shift away from the typical evangelical emphasis on mission as “saving souls,” and a move toward “kingdom ministry.” What does that mean?
In the second chapter of his book “Glocalization,” Bob Roberts gives a helpful summary of what it means to embrace a kingdom theology. He outlines five components to a kingdom perspective:
1. The Kingdom is Here and Now, and There and Later!
This was the key message that Jesus brought (ie. Matthew 4:17)
2. The Kingdom of God is Comprehensive.
God cares about all of life, and there is no aspect of life and society that God does not want to conform. This includes where we see brokenness, injustice, poverty etc.
3. The Kingdom is about All of Society
Roberts quotes Matthew 25:35-46 as a key Kingdom text, where Jesus challenges his followers to visit the imprisoned, feed the hungry, offer hospitality to the stranger. The local church has often neglected those on the margins.
4. The Kingdom Operates through Natural Infrastructures
In other words, the church is not just found in a building. The church is found wherever the people of God are; in the workplace and marketplace, in education, agriculture, law, health etc.
5. The Kingdom of God is about a Different Kind of Church!
If the church is found everywhere, then the mission of the church is to equip God’s people to faithfully minister in every area of society and life, representing the compassion and grace of Christ. This requires a radical shift from seeing the church as the “gathered” people of God, to seeing the church as the sent (or scattered) community (p.45).