Today, to the service and glory of God, the Timbers Community Church dedicated what has become known as the HUB. The HUB is a downtown building in Prince George that the church purchased about 18 months ago to become a center for Kingdom ministry in the Prince George region. The main floor was suitable for immediate possession and operation as an office/administrative center as well as for pastoral ministries such as counselling and some teaching. But the 2600 square foot basement needed a complete refit. After many hours of volunteer work and sacrificial donations for materials the basement has been beautifully redesigned for larger group ministry of all kinds. It was the vision of the founding pastor of the church, Rev. Ian Bennett, to see the building used as a center for kingdom ministry in this region — hence the name. The church itself will continue to meet for Worship Services on Sundays in its rented, well-situated theatre location.
Recently much has been written and said about the need for the church to have a greater missional focus. The concern, rightfully so, has been that the church has been too preoccupied with its own success, its own institutional existence. Partially this paradigm shift is due to a new appreciation for the Kingdom ministry of Jesus who went into the regions and communities of his day touching people’s lives with gracious gifts of healing and wisdom. The argument seems to be that if we took the Kingdom ministry of Jesus seriously we would be less concerned about building the church and more concerned about expanding the Kingdom of God.
This change is both positive and unfortunate. It is good that more attention is being directed to what Kingdom ministry is all about. But we need to be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water. In our efforts to become more missional in Kingdom ministry terms, it’s important that we not lose sight of Jesus’ plan to build his church. After reading Alan Hirsch in,The Shaping of Things To Come, and similar writers, I wonder if it would not be better to think of Kingdom ministry as the larger work that God is doing and of the local church as being at the forefront of this kingdom work because of it’s specific work of proclaiming and guarding the Gospel.
At the least, there is a great need for some solid theological thinking about the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the building of Christ’s church. It seems to me that God’s intention for the local church is to proclaim the Gospel and disciple believers so that they in turn can do God’s Kingdom work in a large variety of ways that draws attention to Christ and His Gospel by which His Kingdom will ultimately be established.