Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords and one day we will fully and finally enjoy the King and the Kingdom which He prepared for us from the foundation of the world (Rev 19:16,Mat 25:34). Enjoyment of the King and Kingdom are possible because “He rescued us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13).” As citizens of God’s unshakeable kingdom we have been exposed to the glory and grace of the King. As a result of this exposure, gratitude has filled our hearts by which we now serve King Jesus (Heb 12:28). The difficulty we need to resolve is how, as citizens of God’s kingdom, shall we work together for the glory of our God and the advancement of His kingdom. Kingdom-minded cooperation will be a reality only when we properly understand what it means to be kingdom-minded. As I have processed the lack of kingdom-minded cooperation from my experience I realized that cooperation is meaningless if you are not kingdom-minded. A biblical example of cooperation without kingdom-mindedness is Genesis 11. God told His people several times to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, but the people were too consumed with themselves. They said “Come, let us build for ourselves…and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” The people were marked by their cooperation with one another, but their cooperation was offensive to God. Unfortunately some churches are falling into this trap of building a kingdom where their names are what really matters.
Kingdom-minded cooperation can be defined as the act of working together for the glory of the King and the advancement of His kingdom. Paul described this when he said to be of the same mind, maintain the same love, be united in spirit and intent on one purpose (Phil 2:2). Unity among churches should lead to unified effort to see Jesus exalted among all nations. Jesus’ desire is for us to focus on His Kingdom. He said we are to pray that His kingdom would come, pursue His kingdom and preach the gospel of the kingdom (Matt 6:10, 33; 24:14).
Cooperate by praying for God’s kingdom to come. This begins on a personal level by praying for the salvation of those with whom you are closely connected. It intersects with others as you begin to pray for the people within your community, city, country and/or cosmos. As you pray for the advancement of God’s kingdom seek out other Christians and Churches with whom you can boldly approach the throne of grace. Pray specifically for God to both raise up and send more laborers to help in the kingdom work.
Cooperate by pursuing His kingdom first. Naturally if God’s kingdom is a priority to you and your church then you will be willing to give and go in order to see His kingdom expanded. Stop asking what would be best for me, my church, my community, my city, etc. and begin asking what will bring most glory to God and advance His kingdom here and abroad. The people of God fell into this trap during the days of Haggai. God told them to consider your ways and build for the glory of God (Hag 1:8) Get to know the churches in your area and seek to be a blessing to them.
To illustrate, I heard that a new Church Plant was starting up down the road. They had asked for volunteers to go out and canvas some neighborhoods. I talked with one of the leaders and joined them in their efforts. I went with one of the leaders and invited people to be a part of their church. We continued to ask for ways we could help them and join them in their work. They now hold their member meetings in our building and we have partnered in reaching out to a local elementary school. As a church we pray for them regularly and are seeking other ways to bless them. Our desire is that they see exponential growth, which in reality is growth of the kingdom.
Cooperate by preaching the gospel of the kingdom The Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matt 24:14). Some ways we can cooperate to accomplish the task of missions are training, going and giving together. There are a multitude of resources to train God’s people to proclaim the gospel and make disciples. I wonder what would happen if churches intentionally partnered with one another to see an army of God’s people equipped to take the gospel to the nations. Next, we can cooperate by going together. We can partner to reach apartment complexes, communities and people groups. This will take some strategic planning and prayer, but within the realm of possible when God has empowered us with His Spirit. Finally, we can cooperate by giving to those whom God has raised up to take the gospel of the kingdom to the nations. We can give out time, talents and treasures to them because we desire more than anything that Jesus be magnified and His people multiplied.
Kingdom-minded cooperation will be necessary to finish the task of missions. I am convinced that the church has been given everything she needs to accomplish the mission of making disciples of all nations. All we need to do is cooperate with a single passion to see Jesus glorified among all peoples. I am personally grateful to be a part of the NACPF where this singular passion is the fuel for our cooperation. May God help us all.
Martie Mangum is the Pastor of Parkwood Baptist Church in Durham, NC. He has been serving in this role for seven years. Martie has a bachelors degree in Biblical Studies from SEBTS where he is also pursuing a master's degree. He is married to Heather and together they have six children. Martie loves spending time with his family, reading books,preaching the gospel and spending time outdoors. He is passionate to see churches revitalized, orphans adopted and people reconciled to God.