I’ve been learning a lot about having a “Kingdom” orientation these days. Now that word itself could mean a zillion different things such as being involved highly “visible” ministry outside the walls of the church. For instance one of our core values clarifies Harbor’s “Kingdom” focus to emphasize intentionally loving one’s own neighborhood. Sometimes a “kingdom” mentality could involve resourcing, or encouraging a new church plant, instead of feeling threatened, territorial, or envious.
However, the Kingdom reorientation I’m referring to is dealing with people moving away from our particular church. Every church will experience its members moving away (and in the end I’m happy for those who feel called to move), but it is not easy for any pastor. It’s not easy for any member whose lives were touched by the moving party. And of course it becomes more difficult when the church is smaller and/or if they were deeply involved.
I recently had lunch with a man who has become a friend during his time at Harbor. He’s the latest of our music team set to move, marking the 3rd family with multiple music team members to leave in a years time.
Yet in spite of the moves, and perhaps even because of the moves, we have more people than ever serving on our music team. In reality, it’s never sounded so good (or at least fuller as we have more instruments/vocalists).
Regardless of the quality of sound, I’ve been learning (reluctantly I might add) that this church isn’t my church; it is Jesus’ church. That’s super easy to proclaim, but in reality, quite hard to believe regarding the issue of moving. In God’s sovereign plan he shuffles his deck of people to put them in places where He’ll use them. He did this in the Babylonian exile (Daniel) and he did it in the early church (Acts 8:1, 4)
On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria….4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went
Why could he not do this same thing through job transfers today?
I thought being Kingdom-centered had more to do with what happens outside of our church. But I’m convinced that it has just as much to do with how I view those inside the church. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.….His will, will involve people moving away to bless others.
So may I/we do all I/we can to shepherd, disciple, train, preach the gospel, encourage, challenge, and love everyone at Harbor, realizing
22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[a] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.