I have the privilege of traveling around the world equipping people to release Jesus movements. I see first hand what God is doing globally.
One trend I am seeing everywhere is the planting of new works that may be church (in a broader definition) but are so much more than a local church according to our common understanding. For lack of a better language I refer to them as kingdom outposts. These outposts share a few common characteristics:
· They create micro businesses that employ people that are becoming kingdom agents in the world and provide a needed product for the neighborhood.
· They involve providing a localized spiritual family in sustainable community (often living in close proximity, together under a single roof or on a shared property). For these people, church has become so much more than a once a week event.
· They often practice sustainable farming (even in urban settings) to provide for the spiritual family and often the neighborhood as well.
· They often do volunteer work to clean up neighborhoods and serve the community in tangible and often thankless ways. Painting buildings, building or fixing homes, planting trees, picking up trash, feeding the homeless are things that are a part of the regular rhythm in these outposts.
· They often work closely with very marginalized people in their neighborhood and provide a path toward self-sufficient living and kingdom fruitfulness.
· They are able to change rapidly and start new things whenever the opportunity presents itself.
· They are beginning to find each other and network on a global scale...which is exciting.
There are multiple reasons for these shifts. Here are a few:
· Reliance on tax-free donations is tenuous in a future that is rapidly becoming hostile to Christianity and many well-established ministries will discover this in an abrupt and sobering moment.
· The artificial separations of secular and sacred as well as clergy and laity are being dissolved. The result will be a global impact of God’s people that are no longer segregated from the world.
· Sustainable, local and green enterprise is not just a fad; this is a strong movement that provides a kingdom opportunity to serve our world and its inhabitants in a responsible way.
· Disciple-making on the job and on the streets is far more effective than two one hour meetings a week at a church building.
· Providing jobs, raising entrepreneurs and equipping people to prosper in this rapidly changing world is a necessity.
I am actively involved with one such kingdom outpost in Los Angeles, CA. Here we have launched a few micro businesses as well as a sober living home and a twelve-step recovery meeting. In the coming weeks I will post information about some of these incredible works and tell some of the stories of people who have changed the entire direction of their lives for Jesus. You will be encouraged and challenged.