Jesus, John the Baptist, and the apostles went about proclaiming the kingdom--not the church (read Matthew 3:2, 4:17, 10:7; Acts 28:30-31). Although the church is in the kingdom, it is not the entire kingdom.
“Kingdom” denotes the rule of God over the whole cosmos, not just a single entity on the earth, like the church. In spite of this, most preaching today has as its goal to get people to make a weekly two-hour commitment to come to a building on Sundays and to give tithes to support that building! This is because a spirit of religion has captivated the church and blinded the minds of church leaders, so that we now have a very limiting church mindset instead of a kingdom perspective. The negative results of this cannot be overstated.
In essence, a kingdom mindset regards Christianity as a biblical world and life view centered on the person of Jesus Christ who is Lord of all creation. This has vast political, economic, and sociological implications! Those with a church mindset view Jesus merely as the King of the church, not the King of all earthly secular kings.
The following are contrasts between these two mindsets:
1. A kingdom mindset releases all saints as ministers in the marketplace. A church mindset merely trains people to serve in a church building on Sundays.
2. A kingdom mindset creates wealth to transform a community and nation. A church mindset motivates giving to build our own church programs.
3. A kingdom mindset is a holistic approach that integrates the gospel with politics, economics, and public policy. A church mindset insulates the gospel from politics and public policy.
4. A kingdom mindset views the Bible as a blueprint to structure every aspect of society. A church mindset views the Bible merely as a pietistic book that enables us to escape the world, enter heaven, and be spiritual.
5. With a kingdom mindset churches embrace and love their surrounding unchurched communities. With a church mindset churches only embrace converted individuals within their faith communities.
6. A kingdom mindset trains people for all of life. A church mindset trains people only for church life.
7. A kingdom mindset nurtures leaders who are world changers and “cultural creatives” who articulate truth to society. A church mindset nurtures leaders who speak religious language relevant only to church people.
8. A kingdom mindset speaks of the rule of God over the entire created order. A church mindset speaks of the rule of God through deacons and elders over those in a church congregation.
9. With a kingdom mindset pastors release their people to their vocational callings in the marketplace. A church mindset controls people by marginalizing their marketplace callings and emphasizing only their Sunday ministries.
10. A kingdom mindset applies a Spirit-empowered approach to the natural world. A church mindset involves a spirituality that separates from the natural world.
11. Those with a kingdom mindset are working toward a renaissance of Christendom. Those with a church mindset merely strive for a particular expression (denomination) of Christianity.
12. Churches with a kingdom mindset equip 100% of the saints to fill up all things in every realm of life (Ephesians 4:10-12). Those with a church mindset have as their primary goal to equip the 2-3% of the congregation called to be full-time church pastors, ministers, and missionaries.