Jan. 14, 2021.
If these recent months of national turmoil have done anything, they have challenged some of our idols, and caused the Church to re-evaluate our mission. It seems that a growing number of leaders are now desiring something deeper than producing Sunday church gatherings. Is the Lord speaking to you about taking a more vital role in the inbreaking Kingdom of God?
#JesusStories: Luke 12:31ff captures a clarifying encouragement from Jesus, in which his followers who are like a little flock of sheep should not be afraid, because it is the Fathers great happiness to give us the Kingdom. But how do we receive such a gift? And what is our role to help download this Kingdom onto the earth? Jesus answers this in vs. 33 by telling us to ‘invest in the Kingdom’. And by investing he meant actual money, and directing money to “those in need.” Interesting. Giving to the poor is how we invest in the inbreaking Kingdom of God. Many in the body of Christ probably need to spend some time meditating on this instruction. Richard Stearn reports that the average US Christian gives 2% of their income to the Kingdom, and most of that is to help with the organizational costs of their local church. Don’t get me wrong, paying for our local congregations is important. But I think you’d agree it is something different than what Jesus was talking about; giving to the needy invests in the Kingdom at a high-level. Jesus then ended this interchange with perhaps the deepest point of all: “For wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be also.” This is big, because everyone who invests in the Kingdom by giving to the poor actually rewires the desires of their heart to match the God-Family. And that can never be a bad thing.
#DinnerChurchQuotes: In AD 362, the Roman Emperor Julian complained that his people needed to match the virtue of the Christians, “who support not only their poor, but our poor as well.” -Chuck Lawless
#PracticalStuff: Dinner Churches are not expensive. They cost $300 per week for an average table congregation of 75 people. Accordingly, it only takes a core team who is willing to give a tithe to start one. And in time, as the new congregation learns to trust Jesus as their provider, they join in. The historic tithe is still the best funding plan available – 2000 years and counting.
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.