How’s your church doing nine months into the Covid-19 pandemic? Are you still online, or are you one of those blessed to meet in person? Our church is open, but my small groups are still meeting on Zoom. It’s been a “growing” experience! I long for in-person meetings but am so grateful for Zoom.
New Ways to be the Ekklesia
Have you found new ways to be the ekklesia? To carry the Kingdom into your home, community, work, and culture? What has that experience been like for you? I would love to hear your stories.
I know that the Kingdom Now groups I’m leading have been stretched in ways they’ve never before experienced. Whether it’s been the content, the discussions, or the application, almost everyone reports being changed in a good way. Leaders around the country agree. Even when a group has disagreed with the content, they’ve grown through the discussion. Several groups, including one of mine, have had to extend the weeks planned as some topics have consumed more than their fair share of the time (and that’s a very GOOD thing!). The study has given voice to questions and concepts participants haven’t had permission to raise in the past. They are loving the opportunity to share their thoughts.
What’s the Right Answer??
I’ve also had groups wondering when they will get to “the answer.” Sorry, it isn’t that simple. Unfortunately, there isn’t one key to bringing unity to the body of Christ. I know. It seems it should be easier. And I suppose it would be except for one pesky problem. The church, the body of Christ, is composed of humans, each of whom brings a checkered past replete with problems, sins, and prejudices as well as victories, triumphs, and mercies. Pack a few or a few hundred of those into a small space and you see the problem. And yet, Jesus said that the gates of Hades would not prevail against His ekklesia (Matthew 16:18). Was He lying? Exaggerating? Or perhaps correct and we are still figuring it out?
If you’d like to join scores of others around the country who are exploring just what it means to be a Kingdom carrier and member of the body of Christ, I invite you to check out Kingdom Now: Pursuing Unity in the Body of Christ to Change the World. It’s a 13-week bible study on ten one another passages in the New Testament. It’s best done in a group because of the discussion it generates. I can promise that you’ll never be the same or look at the church the same.
As we near the end of 2020, I’m so grateful for the many people who have helped to make the launch of Kingdom Now: Pursuing Unity in the Body of Christ to Change the World a success. You are too many to mention, but if you’ve critiqued drafts, written a review, facilitated a group, or helped spread the word, I thank you.
I would like to send a special shout out to Alyce-Kay Ruckelshaus of Threshold of Hineni who devoted untold hours to helping me record a video for each lesson. If you haven’t watched those, you can see them on our Facebook group or on my YouTube Channel. Alyce-Kay and I don’t always agree, but we sure have fun. (And in 2021 we plan to record more videos using her Isaiah Cadre fiction series as a catalyst for discussing Kingdom Now! THAT should be fun! Stay tuned)
But don’t just take my word that people are loving this study.
Here’s what others are saying about Kingdom Now: Pursuing Unity in the Body of Christ to Change the World:
“The book teaches us how to live in such a way that we bear witness to the reality of the kingship of Christ in our jobs, our families, social circles, our schools because God in Christ is the sovereign King over every one of these spheres of life. Thus, it becomes the believer’s responsibility to follow the steps that lead him into the Kingdom of God. I would highly recommend this book, whether you are a baby or a mature Christian.” Anil (a participant).
“The study helped me to look at myself to reflect on where I stand as a Kingdom carrier. It opened my eyes to know how we have to bring the Kingdom (Heaven) to earth as we are all ambassadors of Christ. Each lesson in this book is allowing me to dig deeper to know how to accept others in the body of Christ. As it says in John 17.23, “I in them and you in me so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved me.” This makes me wonder how much we have to abide with each other in the body of Christ as we are all different parts of body of Christ. A body can function well only if all the different parts of the body work in unity as each organ is designated for different function.” Liny (a participant)
“Everyone likes the study, especially the questions and the way it is a “working” study. We have very good discussions and are able to look at various angles of the concepts and questions proposed. The group … is really grasping the building blocks of each lesson and looking again at the function of spiritual gifts. I think the study is timely for our church. In these “unpredictable days” I see clearly the call to unity for the Body to be effective in any way, the call to be a watchman – lamps ready and burning bright for the return of the Bridegroom, and the call to proclaim the gospel while we can.” Lorraine (a facilitator).
“We have gotten in some amazing discussions using the study.” Nancy (a facilitator).