Mike Cope's blog

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

From Howard Snyder: "The church gets in trouble whenever it thinks it is in the church business rather than the Kingdom business. In the church business, people are concerned with church activities, religious behavior and spiritual things. In the Kingdom business, people are concerned with Kingdom activities, all human behavior and everything God has made, visible and invisible. Kingdom people see human affairs as saturated with spiritual meaning and Kingdom significance. Kingdom people seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice; church people often put church work above concerns of justice, mercy and truth. Church people think about how to get people into the church; Kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world. Church people worry that the world might change the church; Kingdom people work to see the church change the world...If the church has one great need, it is this: To be set free for the Kingdom of God, to be liberated from itself as it has become in order to be itself as God intends. The church must be freed to participate fully in the economy of God."

32 Comments:

  • Mike - I love this. I am first and foremost a citizen of Heaven. My prayer is to be a Kingdom person and for Highland "to be set free for the Kingdom of God, to be liberated from itself as it has become in order to be itself as God intends." It couldn't get any better than that until Jesus comes back.

    By Blogger Candy, at 12/08/2004 06:35:00 AM  

  • The problem is that most church people don't realize there is a difference between church and Kingdom. There's still relatively little teaching on what the Kingdom actually is. When I ask people what the Kingdom is, they usually either say it's the church or it's heaven.

    By Blogger john alan turner, at 12/08/2004 06:44:00 AM  

  • I agree with Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson in their recent book, "The Externally Focused Church" in which they talk about the internally and externally focused churches. Their terminology for what Howard Snyder calls "Church people and Kingdom people" are referred to as "internally and externally focused churches."

    "Internally focused churches concentrate on getting people into the church and generating activity there. These churches may create powerful worship experiences, excel in teaching, offer thriving youth programs, and have vibrant small groups, but at the end of the day, what is measured is the number of people and activites within the church. These are good churches filled with good people. And what they do is vital but not sufficient for a healthy church. Worship, teaching, and personal devotions are absolutely necessary for building the internal capacity necessary to sustain an external focus, but if all the human and financial resources are expended inside the four walls of the church, then no matter how "spiritual" things may appear to be, something is missing."

    "Externally focused churches are internally strong, but they are oriented externally...because they engage their communities with the good works and good news of Jesus Christ, their communmities are better places in which to live...they build bridges to their communties instead of walls around themselves. They don't shout at the dirty stream, they get in the water and begin cleaning it up. They determine their effectiveness not only by internal measures - such as attendance, worship, teaching, and small groups - but also by external measures; the spiritual and societal effects they are having on the communities around them."

    Whatever our terminology, I pray we begin to get our churches back into the communities, back to outreach, back to Kingdom business, taking the Good News to our communities, both local and across the world. However, I'd really like to see us proclaim the Good News through our good works in Jesus' name in our local communities first and foremost.

    Thanks again for a great post, Mike!!

    By Blogger Kathy, at 12/08/2004 07:05:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Rick Ross, at 12/08/2004 07:19:00 AM  

  • Mike, thanks SO much for sharing that quote with us. We need to hear it, and often. The quote that Kathy shared with us is also outstanding, and I for sure want to read that book!

    Here is a quote I never will forget. He was not talking about the church, but I think it is still so applicable. This is Morgan Freeman talking in "Shawshank Redemption":

    Red: These walls are kind of funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them. That's institutionalized. They send you here for life, that's exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyways.


    Let's focus on the Kingdom!

    By Blogger David U, at 12/08/2004 07:54:00 AM  

  • I love the quote! I'm currently preaching about the kingdom, and this will be a perfect intro to my lesson this week. Blessings!

    By Blogger Rick Ross, at 12/08/2004 08:13:00 AM  

  • taste and see that the Lord is good..

    That post was like apple pie to the soul!!

    Thanks!

    By Blogger Phyllistene, at 12/08/2004 08:52:00 AM  

  • In my American History class our teacher has been pushing the point that when Americans set there minds on a goal they achieve it no matter how difficult it might be (examples manifest destiny, the panama canal, landing on the moon.) What is really interesting is that even though there are political differences within the country, Americans unite to achieve a goal. This seems to be human nature seen through out the ages. We as the church need to be focused on the Kingdom, just as you said, and maybe this focused goal will fix many of the problems that occur within our church's.

    By Blogger Brandon Moore, at 12/08/2004 10:37:00 AM  

  • Hi Mike, how about some scripture to show the points of this quote are scriptural.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/08/2004 11:15:00 AM  

  • Mike:

    I'm curious to know where this quote is from. Is it from one of Howard Snyder's books?

    Thanks!

    By Blogger Frank, at 12/08/2004 12:05:00 PM  

  • Howard A. Snyder, Liberating the Church: The Ecology of Church and Kingdom, 1983

    By Blogger Mike, at 12/08/2004 12:36:00 PM  

  • To anonymous: are you asking as a seeker or as a legalist? The tone of your question leads me to believe the second choice. If that is the case, my guess is you don't have the ears to hear the message.
    The abundance of scripture would fall on deaf ears, and from indications, a heart not open to accept.

    We pray for you, and with you.......that we ALL will become soft clay in His hands.

    By Blogger David U, at 12/08/2004 03:12:00 PM  

  • "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:36

    By Blogger David Michael, at 12/08/2004 08:23:00 PM  

  • David U wrote:

    "To anonymous: are you asking as a seeker or as a legalist? The tone of your question leads me to believe the second choice. If that is the case, my guess is you don't have the ears to hear the message.
    The abundance of scripture would fall on deaf ears, and from indications, a heart not open to accept.

    We pray for you, and with you.......that we ALL will become soft clay in His hands."

    Wow, from a single question (asked in sincerity, btw) I am condemned as a legalist (with a tone) who will not listen! Thanks David!

    David, I asked Mike the question (this is his blog right?). I asked because in 1 Peter 4:11 it says, "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." I like to have scriptures to justify my actions. Am I wrong for having this desire?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/09/2004 04:27:00 AM  

  • Mike, is my question not worthy of a response?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/09/2004 06:45:00 AM  

  • Anonymous, I should have communicated first of all that I was only speaking for myself.....and secondly that I had asked Mike's permission to respond.

    Sincerity and perspective are two completely different things, and I never questioned your sincerity. I only asked if your request was from the perspective of a seeker or a legalist.

    I also didn't condemn you. In fact, I thought I did just the opposite by telling you that I am praying for you and WITH you.....for ALL of us. I still am.

    By Blogger David U, at 12/09/2004 07:54:00 AM  

  • David, I apologize if I over reacted to your response.

    It seems odd though that having asked a Bible question, I cannot get a response. I am an honest searcher, please help!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/09/2004 08:27:00 AM  

  • Honest anonymous searcher, no need for an apology...but I appreciate your spirit. If my response sounded harsh, forgive me for that also. Blogs and emails lose the human element, so you can't see facial expressions or hear tone of voice. You only get black and white.
    What a shame, and it can for sure lead to miscommunication.

    The first scripture I would refer you to is Matthew 6:33

    For more discussion, pick up the phone and let's visit.
    I am in the book!

    God bless,
    DU

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/09/2004 09:29:00 AM  

  • I don't know how that last comment got posted as "anonymous". It weren't......it were me!

    DU

    By Blogger David U, at 12/09/2004 09:33:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 12/09/2004 11:29:00 AM  

  • The following is from a great book called, "The Church Multiplication Guide" by George Patterson and Richard Scoggins.:

    "Circle 'bombs' below that may be warning that your people should not be confined to one facility:
    • 'Maintenance' replaces outreach.
    • People complain about investing tithes and offerings in material buildings.
    • New workers 'walk on eggs' to avoid offending others in order to develop or expand a ministry.
    • People express frustration because their ministries are being restricted or they are not allowed to do what God has gifted them to do.
    • Leaders complain of exhaustion. Ministry is a chore rather than a joy.
    • Planning sessions revolve more around keeping the organization running smoothly than around spiritual and pastoral concerns.
    • Rules proliferate.
    • Innovations take longer.
    • Potential leaders and competing.
    • The percentage of members in places of leadership declines.
    • A chronic shortage of leaders in touch with the local community stifles outreach.
    • The church must rely more and more on paid staff.
    • Programs receive more attention than people do.
    • Funds for buildings and paid staff are becoming a major concern and topic of discussion by leaders.
    • Unsaved visitors seldom return.
    • Sterility replaces reproduction.
    • Even heroic attempts to form effective home groups are futile."

    I think the above are signs that church is more of an organization or business than a living, missional organism. Not all of the above are inherently "bad," but they do require some discernment as to whether or not they help or hurt our involvement in the Great Commission. I hope that's a blessing to someone.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 12/09/2004 11:33:00 AM  

  • Dave U wrote:

    "The first scripture I would refer you to is Matthew 6:33

    For more discussion, pick up the phone and let's visit.
    I am in the book!

    God bless,
    DU"

    Dave, doesn't seeking the kingdom involve allowing the word of God to lead us? All I asked for were scriptures to illustrate the quote of Howard Snyder. I personally have asked Mike to help me with this twice, but have received no reply from him! Why?

    As to picking up the phone, I have no idea who you are, or where you live. How could I do this?

    I asked a sincere question, as one searching for truth. I am confused as to why none has been offered. Mike's bio says he is a minister. Are you there Mike?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/10/2004 05:39:00 AM  

  • David Underwood
    Searcy, Arkansas USA

    I look forward to visiting with you.

    By Blogger David U, at 12/10/2004 07:19:00 AM  

  • David U:

    My question is directed to Mike. Please let him respond.

    1 Peter 3:15 (Amplified Bible)

    "But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/10/2004 07:36:00 AM  

  • Wow. I've missed a lot here. It's finals week at ACU, grades are due, I preached Wednesday night, I've had to get ready for Sunday morning . . . .

    This is not just Mike's Blog. The things I write are from me (or quoted by me). But the community that's created here has entered into discussions many times. I'm thankful for that, because often I don't have the time to check back in again and again.

    Having said that, anonymous comments are welcome on my blog. But I don't want to set a precedent of answering anonymous questions. Sign in, and I'll be glad to answer. I don't even have a clue as to what part of the quote you're asking about. (E.g., are you asking if the church and the kingdom are the same thing? Are you questioning whether churches ought to live for consumerism or for the reign of God -- "in authentic community for the sake of the world"?)

    By Blogger Mike, at 12/10/2004 07:56:00 AM  

  • Hi Mike, you wrote,

    "Having said that, anonymous comments are welcome on my blog. But I don't want to set a precedent of answering anonymous questions. Sign in, and I'll be glad to answer. I don't even have a clue as to what part of the quote you're asking about. (E.g., are you asking if the church and the kingdom are the same thing? Are you questioning whether churches ought to live for consumerism or for the reign of God -- "in authentic community for the sake of the world"?)"

    I prefer to remain anonymous. I don't want to get spammed.

    Mike, I would like to see scriptural proof for nearly everything said in this quote. You put it out there, and I am wondering how you scripturally justify it. It seems like a fair question to me. If you believe it, prove it, please. I have no agenda other than simply trying to justify my beliefs by God's word.

    I assumed that as this site is called, Mike Cope's Blog, that it was your blog. Sorry if I was wrong about that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/10/2004 08:11:00 AM  

  • I believe if you'll look back he said it isn't "just Mike Cope's blog." Geez. Don't think he was denying that it's his blog. He's just saying the obvious -- it has grown into something bigger. There is a regular "community" that meets here -- apparently about 800 people a day. Saying stupid things like that isn't likely to get your question answered. And it probably confirms the policy he stated above of not answering anonymous questions!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/10/2004 08:23:00 AM  

  • Anonymous --

    Go to mail.yahoo.com or www.hotmail.com and set up a free email account there. Then ANYTIME you sign up for anything on the internet, use that email address. As a result, all of your spam will get directed there instead of to your preferred email account.

    With that obstacle out of the way, it shouldn't be any trouble for you to identify yourself so you can receive the answers you desire. Mike's policy is a good one, I think.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 12/10/2004 08:37:00 AM  

  • Wow!

    I stumbled on this site the other day while surfing the net, and I asked a question. It seemed like a fair question. I made a response to Mike a little while ago, and said that I assumed it was his blog as it was called by his name. The response was directed to Mike.

    Now another anonymous writer replies,

    "Saying stupid things like that isn't likely to get your question answered."

    What was stupid about my assumption, and why will it not get my question answered?

    Wow!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/10/2004 08:39:00 AM  

  • Mike, Dave:

    I won't bother you, or this "community" anymore. I asked a question, and if you're honest (which I assume you are) you know that none was really given (Matt. 6:33 aside). My identity ought (should) not to have been an issue. You don't know me, and I don't know you. I just wanted some scripture to validate a quote you put on your (the communities) blog. As I said, I have absolutely no agenda. I think it important to justify what I believe scripturally, and I thought it would be true for you as well. I hope it is.

    It seems like, for the most part, I have been attacked. Why, for asking questions? For choosing to remain anonymous? What if I were someone with whom you do have disagreements, would you refuse to answer a question asked? If I were to call you and still wish to remain anonymous would you refuse to answer me?

    I'm sorry if I have bothered or offended anyone, but really, would it have been so hard to throw some scriptures out there to help a searcher?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/10/2004 09:20:00 AM  

  • Anonymous, I assume since you addressed me I have been given permission to respond again. :)

    I don't think anybody considers your questions unreasonable. Mike communicated with "courtesy and respect" under what conditions he would answer ANY specific question you had, and I don't see that as unreasonable either. I offered to visit with you over the phone. Matt told you how to be able to post with your identity without having to worry about spam. You declined all of the above. I don't consider that the fruit of someone who is a seeker. Instead, you stay in the shadows and play the victim. That is not our choice, that is your choice.

    I continue to pray for you and ALL of us! We are fellow brothers, not enemies. Our true enemy, Satan, would like to see us treating each other as enemies.
    Let's make sure to dissapoint him!

    By Blogger David U, at 12/10/2004 09:46:00 AM  

  • I haven't been in this discussion, but have read along with interest. I, like Mike, don't really know what the question is pertaining to. I have gone back over the original quote, and find it hard to see what could (or should) or should not be justified by scripture. It's like asking for a proof text on an op-ed piece. I'm not trying to get into this, but maybe if anonymous would be more specific with his question and what needs to be justified, it would be easier to formulate an answer. I wouldn't know how to start, the way it is...

    By Blogger don, at 12/10/2004 11:12:00 AM  

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