Recently I’ve churned out a series of posts on leadership and being the guy who is right. Hopefully from those you’ve gleamed I’m not posturing myself as that type in any way. Today I want to try to make that all the more clear, because especially with this post I’m throwing out an idea, not an answer or an authoritative sounding message. I want to hear if you think I missed the mark here. It’s always a possibility.
Young collegiates these days talk revolution, and similarly Christians just change a few letters so we can talk REVIVAL! Especially sixty years ago, but still to this day Christians everywhere are praying for one of these. Sixty years ago it may not have been as “needed” as today, but now with Christianity being pretty un-hip and experiencing some de-converts, or people misinterpreting REM’s break up song and Losing Their Religion.
I quoted the word needed in the previous sentence because I’d like to call into question this huge desire and emphasis on a Christian revival. I know it sounds like an odd thing to question, because how can a resurgence of Christianity be something bad? Why would I not want that? Am I that far gone?
(To be clear this is not another person critiquing the altar call/sinner’s prayer/preaching on the streets sort of thing).
When we understand the Christian faith’s goal is to make disciples of all people and in essence convert all people to faith, well then revival sounds like the answer to our prayers. And I can see how people would believe our goal is to spread the religion. The more of our religion the better, right?
However I don’t think that ultimately our goal is make Christianity a worldwide religion. Oddly enough, this was not Jesus’ goal for his collective church to achieve. The point of Christianity is not, well, religion – it’s the kingdom of God spreading. Some may not understand the difference, thinking the Kingdom of God to simply be heaven, the place Christians go upon earthly death, however I’ve come to see it in much more ambiguous yet far reaching terms. It’s as earthly as it is heavenly. Even Jesus was elusive about defining it, preferring allegories to best sum it up.
From my understanding, the Christian isn’t nearly as concerned with convincing others to join his religion than he is with simply loving the people and creating peace around him. We plant kindness, healing, hope and service.
The kingdom of God spreading, like yeast through bread, doesn’t happen via sermons and preachers and revival messages. Love, peace, mercy and reconciliation are much more infectious than that, and they permeate far more deeply than any lecture could.
So we can long for revival, but how many have there been? Why do we keep needing more? Revival can still be temporary, whereas the kingdom is much more thorough and complete. Its roots run deep and hold strong. It is raw, it is viral. The kingdom isn’t as emotional and tingly like the high a revival gives, but ultimately with each inch the kingdom gains over the land the more and more God has a welcoming home here.
So, here’s your chance to fire away. Have I gone wrong? What is the mission of Jesus’ church body? Do you long for revival? What terms would you put on the kingdom?