In Part 1, I shared about a new Kingdom of Heaven approach for your church rather than the traditional not-for-profit church mindset. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend it for practical solutions in how to increase your income by first serving those in your congregations who are part of the marketplace. This article shares the second part, seek righteousness and justice, and continues with positioning ourselves for the great wealth transfer (Pr 13:22).
We are called to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things (the wonderful abundance of God) will be added to us. (Mt 6:33) So, what is righteousness? According to Strong’s Concordance it is being acceptable to God and having integrity, virtue, purity of life, and rightness. As born-again Christians we believe that we are made righteous through our faith in Jesus (Rom 3:22). To me, righteousness is so closely related to justice. The Kingdom of God has both righteousness and justice as the foundations. In these tumultuous times of the George Floyd riots in the US, righteousness and justice is called for more than ever before. Many are becoming aware for the first time, how deep the racism can be in the US and around the world. At times even the systems are designed to keep particular groups disadvantaged. I applaud the pastors who are boldly speaking out and sharing their experiences and revelations. Black and white pastors are joining to reveal the divide, which has also existed in the church. In particular, Bishop TD Jakes bringing together leaders with experiences from around the world.
At Imagineering 2 a Better World (IM2) we believe to overcome any societal issue, we first need to ask the tough questions and actively listen to come to an understanding of the issues, including asking people how they are feeling. This may also require some repentance for us and our ancestors to deal with this in a spiritual sense (not covered here), then work together to work out how to fix things then action it. Imagine – Solution/s – Commit – Action. This may even require changes to laws!
For any societal change, it starts with God’s people.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chron 7:14)
Doing the right thing or being just in a Kingdom of Heaven mindset is about inspiring, equipping and empowering those in our fellowships. Last week I wrote that in the IM2 paradigm, that volunteering should be kept to say 5 hours per week, unless it is part of a particular program eg internship where at the end of a specified period there are certain rewards, or while there is no-one else to take on the role (as long as at the same time others are being trained up to allow for breaks for that person and succession planning). The issue with not-for-profit organisations, churches included, is that people who serve have a genuine servant heart and want to give. However over time, if there are not safe, fair and clear boundaries, with regular review and rewards, people can come to feel used or trapped or resentful or burnt out.
Often doing good and being busy in the church setting is in direct opposition to the great. What are you called to that you are not doing? Perhaps you have imagined yourself working with the homeless or going out and doing street evangelism and operating in the gifts of the Spirit and being utilised to bring healing to others. A simple solution would be to do both! Others may be volunteering while they are also looking for work, perhaps they are new to the area. Yet, due to the amount of volunteering they find job hunting onerous and yet they so love serving the local church and being part of the team, having fun and belonging, that some have become the poor in that no job has been found and so not enough income is coming in to cover basics let-alone bless others.
So, righteousness for your church is also doing the right thing by those in your flock. Inspire, equip and empower them. Invite speakers to events who can share solutions from poverty to prosperity, homelessness to overcoming the orphan spirit and having a home in a new family, from unemployment to full employment, from struggling business to thriving employer, etc, whatever is affecting your sheep.
Where there is injustice, whether it be against minorities such as African Americans, or Maoris in New Zealand (Aotearoa), indigenous Australians in Australia, or refugees, or the glass ceiling for women in certain spheres, choose to be part of the solution. Prayer as well as action. Action could be signing petitions, raising awareness, loving people in practical ways, helping lift others up rather than welfare, and generally being the light in the dark.
Kingdom finances: In the past, Christians have done well with provision. When times have been tough, I am sure we have all heard stories of miraculous provision after prayer. Yet in this new era, the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven era, I believe we are called to not just provision or survival, but overflow and multiplication. We see the concept of multiplication from Genesis all the way through to the New Testament, especially with the parable of the sower (Mk 4: 1 – 20). We also see this with the parables of the minas (Lk 19: 11 – 27) and the parable of the talents (Mt 25: 14 – 30). We are called to multiply. When we operate in multiplication, increase, expansions of blessings, including stewarding wealth and riches, we will be given much. I believe it is no accident that right now in the United States of America and in Australia we are being led by men who have proven faithful with finances. President Trump proved faithful in private enterprise, while Prime Minister Morrison is a former Treasurer.
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” (Pr 13:22)
The righteous here I believe is not referring to Christians, although it could be. It is for those who have proven faithful with stewarding or responsible management of wealth and riches (which in the IM2 or Kingdom of God/Heaven mindset also includes your families, businesses, etc.)
In conclusion, for your own church to be sustainable, it is wisest to inspire, equip and empower those in your congregations to flourish. Lead by example by seeking first the Kingdom of God (which of course must include daily reading of the Word of God, The Bible, Jesus as the living word (Jn 1:14) (abide in Me – Jn 15:4), , and praying for wisdom and revelation as we read (Eph 1:17), and seek His righteousness. A society that is founded on righteousness and justice (Ps 89:14) allows for freedoms such as freedom of speech, religion/worship and enterprise. People seek refuge or the opportunity to prosper in these nations that have these values in their foundations such as the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia. There also needs to be justice to protect these values which are being eroded in some places. Thank God for prayer that opens Parliaments and God’s word that is being shared in schools through Religious Instruction. This is to be cherished and protected. One needs only to look at nations not founded on these principles and see that they are not prospering to see where we would end up if we allow these fundamental principles to be eroded. The Kingdom of Heaven must surely be visible in the House of God, not dead religion where the people are oppressed by societal issues. Righteousness and justice are the key – WAKE UP for God’s sake. We are called to be part of the solution and be a blessing. Will you join?