We find ourselves very busy.
As busyness goes, it’s a good kind of busy. Our social circles have widened and with them so have the range of invites, weekly options and activities going on hither and thither.
We’ve split our bible study into three and there’s plenty going on in our wider churches for a group of young men to get stuck into. Add to that the inevitable extra work of setting up a new home (which we’re just about getting to the end of after two months) and none of us can complain we don’t have enough to do.
However, what really butters our collective biscuit isn’t the idea of doing lots of good churchy things, it’s “kingdom moments”.
It’s the nominal Muslim lad from across the street turning up before bible study asking to borrow our blender and staying the evening. It’s being able to bless an old spiritualist school friend with a donation for their child’s funeral. It’s the thick atmosphere of Jesus as we worship. It’s being surprised by the clarity with which God speaks as we pray. It’s explaining baptism and repentance to someone who used to be around years ago but who never properly grasped it.
We’re getting hungrier for more, and we’re hungry to get hungrier still. We’d love to see people getting healed on the street, people opening their homes to us, getting baptised, more people leaving safe ground and moving into urban neighbourhoods for the gospel…
Kingdom moments are outstanding moments in our kingdom activity. Ideally all church activity should be kingdom activity, but sometimes our “churchy” and general social activity can be powerless, competing with kingdom activity and not producing kingdom moments or lasting fruit.
“The good is the enemy of the great”, said an old friend of mine. The point is that we should focus on the most important things, sacrificing good things for the greatest things. It’s cool having fun eating pizza with friends (more Lord!), and it’s OK to go to church events like normal people, but I’m increasingly aware how intentional we need to be about how we spend our time.
I think most of our activity operates within three domains of relationship:
Our ministry as ambassadors of God’s kingdom is to help God in His work of reconciling the world to Himself in Jesus. The diagram above is a scale of discipleship, with closeness of relationship increasing as people become more like Jesus, ideally anyway. Discipleship is about helping one another know and be more like Jesus, and this is the job of every disciple.
We should have some relationships that operate in each of the areas above. Kingdom activity is anything that helps someone progress through discipleship from left to right. The most potent kingdom moments are often ones in which a relationship shifts from being mostly of one domain to being of another. It’s when an unbelieving stranger becomes a true friend. It’s the first time someone melts in the love of God. It’s baptism, it’s true life-action repentance, it’s someone hearing and responding to the call of God.
Generally it’s very easy to do a lot of the middle domain stuff, but it takes purpose and sobriety to focus on the other two.
So, whichever of the domains above you reckon you live most of your life in, make it your goal to move deeper in. If you’re a stranger to us, let’s be friends. If you’re a regular friend, let’s meet Jesus together. If you’re a disciple, align yourself closer to him still. Let’s make disciples together: ask Jesus which of those domains he wants you to invest in for fruitfulness.
- Which domain would you say most of your relationships are in?
- How could we all structure our diaries to help us invest well in all the domains above?
Leave a comment below.
All busyness carries its own dangers of burnout of course. Maybe I’ll have more to write about that another time, and hopefully not from too much of our own personal experience!