The church gets in trouble whenever it thinks it’s 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 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.
When Christians put the church ahead of the kingdom, they settle for the status quo and their own kind of people. When they catch a vision of the kingdom of God, their sights shift to the poor, the orphan, the widow, the refugee, “the wretched of the earth” and to God’s future. They see the life and work of the church from the perspective of the kingdom.
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.