A Strong Kingdom Is Made of Many Different Types of Communities
But the point is that there are likely a myriad of different types of communities which serve to promote and strengthen the Kingdom of God. Each community needs to be built to suit and serve the ones who are living out their lives in that Kingdom community and against the backdrop of the particular darkness they face.
Today there are businessmen who travel a great deal, professional sports athletes and coaches (not to mention college coaches) who virtually live together and work seven days a week; artisans in the entertainment industry who work horrendous hours; each of these groups (and there are many others) needs a Kingdom community which will help them live out their lives in a world of darkness. None of the groups that I have mentioned are well suited to the present local church. I am not saying that they cannot change their lives to accommodate church, but in doing so, they are not really participating in a community that is built to help them in their journey of transformation or of influencing the dark world in which they live and work. They may “go to church”, but they seldom are participating in meaningful community that will lead to transformation of their own lives, the lives of their families and the lives of those among whom they live and serve.
Rethinking Communities of the Kingdom of God
If the Kingdom of God is going to penetrate the varied social networks that make up our complex world, we need to rethink the nature of the Kingdom of God and the communities which make up this Kingdom. Jesus did not try to fit everyone into a structure, but rather proclaimed good news of a new Kingdom that was to penetrate every level of society and every social grouping. Jesus did not come preaching the church, but the Kingdom, and established a Kingdom community which was not the church but which would conceive of it and plant communities of the Kingdom appropriate to their context. We have a number of letters which give us insight into complex networks of house churches which the apostolic teams started in the first century cities of the world. But we also have inklings that they planted simple communities which suited different contexts (like Cornelius’ century).Apostles today need to be challenged not to slavishly follow one model that they may derive from the limited scope of Paul’s church planting (large cities) as well as their own church context, but rather to innovate new models of community which will incarnate the Gospel in this present age; communities which are diverse enough to serve the present and future contexts. Existing local churches may serve a part of the populous well, but apostles need to be exploring new models of Kingdom Communities which serve others well in their context; where they can be good news to the world in which they live, and bring the Kingdom into that context….