What if we’re getting it wrong?
I spent a lot of time thinking about ecclesiology, probably because of Thrive. But I had a thought today. Jesus didn’t spent much time AT ALL worrying about church. He focused on revealing the kingdom. And I checked. The word church appears only 2 times in the Gospels. But the word kingdom appears 116 times. Seems like a huge discrepancy given that we have entire organizations and industries designed creating church, church planting, church chairs, church music, church (fill in the blank).
And I began to wondering why this was. Why did Jesus focus so much on kingdom as opposed to church? And I began to wonder if Jesus understood that church was not possible without kingdom. One required the other. And in focusing on kingdom Jesus would automatically build his church in our midst. Jesus even said, “But seekfirst his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Because what draws us together is the reflection of God in our midst. What draws us together is the inescapable love that heals our souls. It’s that pervading sense of grace that transcends our brokenness. That’s kingdom, not church.
I had this conversation with a friend about Thrive and what we do. And we don’t focus on creating church, even though it often feels like church. We focus on creating kingdom. We focus on creating a space where grace is true. We focus on living out the way Jesus called us to: to love and forgive. And at first its really cool to feel like you have a tribe. But over time, what makes it valuable is having this space where grace is true, where we can go to experience something divine. It’s not just in the social aspect, which quickly wears off after we discover our brokenness in each other. It’s creating a space where we can transcend that brokenness, no matter what we’ve done. That’s kingdom.
So I say bring on the Kingdom and let Jesus build the church.