WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–The church must reclaim kingdom of God principles if it is to advance the cause of Christ in the 21st century, a Southern Baptist church growth leader said during Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Spring Lecture Series March 23-25.
“There is little difference between what’s inside and what’s outside the church today because we have lost an understanding of the kingdom of God and the God who reigns over it,” said Gene Mims, vice president of the church resources division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“The kingdom of God is something that is lost on the modern evangelical conscience, and we don’t seek it like we should,” Mims said during his lectures at Southeastern’s Wake Forest, N.C., campus.
The kingdom of God manifests itself in “the reign of God in the lives of believers and … by his activity in their lives, and through their lives and all around their lives,” Mims said.
Without a proper understanding of the kingdom of God, Christians fail to fulfill God’s calling on their lives by applying biblical principles such as the Lordship of Christ and Christian service, Mims said.
“We don’t want to go to the hard places,” he said. “We want to go to the nice white suburbs where growing a church is easy. We don’t want to stay and grind it out when the forces of evil come against us in the little local church or community.”
When kingdom of God perspectives are absent, transformed lives are replaced by “sin management, the gospel of success, health and wealth and prosperity,” he said.
“There can be no true missiology or evangelism, discipleship or church growth without proper understanding of the kingdom of God,” Mims said.
Acknowledging that Christ only mentioned the church twice in the Gospels, compared to numerous references to God’s kingdom, Mims said the kingdom of God “was what captured his imagination. Over 70 times he articulated it. It was the focus of his ministry.”
Mims said Christians must realize that they are completely dependent upon Christ their King, and that he is ready to supply their needs according to his purpose of extending his kingdom.
Quoting Matthew 6:33, Mims said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”
Mims is also the author of several books, including: “God’s Call to a Corrupt Nation;” “Kingdom Principles for Church Growth;” and “Thine Is the Kingdom.”
McMillan is a newswriter at Southeastern Seminary.