“What does it mean to build God’s Kingdom?” It may be different than what you think…
When I travel with people on short term mission trips, I always work hard to manage their expectations. I go through a long list. We discuss things like food, sleeping accommodations and access to showers. All important things. But by far the most important item on my list is their expectation of what their ministry will look like and how their efforts will help to build God’s Kingdom.
I’m not sure where it comes from, but almost every person I have ever traveled with has had these incredibly high expectations about what their ministry will look like.
Now, I have seen God do some crazy things in the lives of people in a short period of time, so I’m not talking about that kind of expectation. Rather, I am talking about the method of ministry. People always come expecting that “doing ministry” is going to be this huge epic moment. They think that building God’s Kingdom is going to look like this truly “out of the ordinary” event. That is just not the case.
After more than a decade of overseas ministry experience, I can confidently say that the vast majority of epic Kingdom-building stories emerge from truly mundane and ordinary moments.
A Story of Kingdom-Building & a Life Transformed
Take Bai’s story for example. His life was radically transformed by Jesus when he sat down to eat some breakfast.
One morning we sat drinking tea and eating hard boiled eggs when Bai walked over. We invited him to sit down. Within a few minutes we were talking about life and soon we had moved on to spiritual matters. Before we knew it, Bai was sharing the depths of his heart. As he finished, we began sharing about how Jesus had helped us in our times of need and changed our lives. We asked if he wanted to become a follower of Jesus. Bai enthusiastically replied, “Ndio!” (Yes!)
That day the kingdom was built, and Bai’s life was truly transformed by Jesus. Bai has never been the same. I see him about once a year, and I can tell you, it’s true. Bai really was changed by Jesus and the change has remained.
It was maybe a 30-minute conversation that Jesus used to build the Kingdom and transform Bai’s life. There was nothing extraordinary or special about it—no emotional music, no organized event, and no big-name evangelist. Just some ordinary Christians, in an ordinary moment, sharing about their extraordinary Jesus.
When it comes to building God’s Kingdom, I believe this “ordinary ministry” is how it will look for most of us.
Few of us will ever stand on a stage in front of thousands to proclaim Jesus. Few of us will ever become pastors of churches or traveling evangelists. The plain truth is that most of us will live ordinary lives off the stage and out of the spotlight.
Now, some have looked at this ordinary existence and concluded that it’s just not possible for ordinary people to build God’s Kingdom. As you can see from Bai’s story, nothing could be further from the truth.
What It Looks Like to Build God’s Kingdom
Jesus exemplifies both methods of ministry.
- He spoke to large crowds.
People encountered God, were changed, and the kingdom was built.
- He spoke to individuals in ordinary moments.
They also encountered God, also were changed, and the Kingdom was built.
Jesus made it clear through His life that there is just as much legitimacy and importance in the work of the ordinary Christian as there is to the work of those who stand on stages and proclaim to many. The Kingdom is built through both methods.
For most of us, if we wait for that “epic” moment to share Jesus with people, we will never contribute to building the Kingdom. On the other hand, if we make the most of every opportunity, whether it be over a cup of coffee, with a random stranger on the bus, or in some far away country, we will see God’s Kingdom built.
Building God’s Kingdom is the job of every Christian, and it happens during ordinary moments just as much or more than it happens during out-of-the-ordinary moments.
How God’s Kingdom Is Built in Ordinary Moments
Just today, I had two salesmen sitting in my living room, trying to sell me windows. During a lull in the conversation, I began to share a little of my story about how Jesus had transformed me from the inside out. One of the men, David, began to share his story with me, and he ended up deciding he would try out a church I recommended in his area of town. An ordinary conversation, made special simply because Jesus was made more famous and David was connected to a body of Christ near his home.
Every day the Kingdom of God is built by ordinary followers of Jesus.
- Every time someone shares how Jesus has changed them the Kingdom is built.
- Every time someone lives out their love for God in how they treat people, the Kingdom of God is built.
- Anywhere where Jesus is shown to be the King in what we say, think, or do, the kingdom of God is built.
The Kingdom is where Jesus is Lord, and His will is accomplished. Anywhere, any way, any time that happens, the Kingdom of God is built.
Do Your Part to Build God’s Kingdom!
I wonder, if we were to collect all the Kingdom-building moments that happen during large events and put them on a list, and then we collected all the Kingdom-building moments that happen through ordinary Christians, which list would be longer?
I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the second list would be longer, and by quite a large margin. It’s just in the numbers. A few famous individuals simply cannot have the same Kingdom-building impact as the collective body of Christ on mission.
So, next time you are tempted to think you can’t play a part to build God’s Kingdom, think again. God uses ordinary people every day to build His Kingdom all over the world. He equips us all for ministry and to make a daily impact.