With God-Like Pursuit
By Mark Kinman
As a new church barely a year old, we are still changing things and adjusting areas due to growth so as to better meet the ministry needs within the church. Starting out however with a big vision and just a handful of people, the elephant in the room was just that, we only had a handful of people. After counting every man woman and baby, as pastors of small churches do, there didn’t seem to be enough people to provide resources to do the things necessary for building and sustaining a ministry to be able to both attract more people and minister to the very people we were calling church. I suppose this is the “catch 22” with relevancy to all churches of all sizes. Looking at the actual size of the church after stripping away the numbers down to unique households, it seemed even more of a challenge. After all, most of the people were lower income or elderly, and on fixed incomes.
After a swift Holy Spirit admonishment, I was quickly reminded that none of those things have ever been concerns of God. The God of love is concerned more for the lost and the broken than the circumstances or situations we call challenging. As a matter of fact, when allowed, God is most powerful in those circumstances and challenges when hearts turn toward Him and seek after His kingdom power and righteousness. It’s how He gets glory. It’s how He is made strong in our lives. He will not share in our strength or share in our glory. He will however give us His strength, for His glory.
Paul realized it in 2 Cor. 12 and I have been overwhelmed and overtaken by it today. Since the beginning, our heart as a local church truly has been to pursue his kingdom, not as popular Christian mantra or buzz words that every church uses, but truly by action and in deed. It seemed for the first several months every message taught had Mat 6:33 in it. Our focus has been so outward that it truly has been transforming the inward and meeting the needs of the very thing we had a desire to build. Before we launched or officially began, the existing group of people was already serving in the community giving away food and clothing on a small scale. Part of the planning leading up to our 2013 September launch, was to come up with a name. I wasn’t interested in coming up with some cool or attractive name that would later force or justify some church vision. We spent all of about a minute and a half deciding the church name. Actually, I wanted to just call it “Church” but corporately, this was not possible. Since we were already operating by Faith it became our name. Unique? Of course not, just necessary to form the corporation. Still as a church by human standards, measurable either by sight or on paper, we were weak. We are however full of faith with a strong desire to live out the two greatest commandments, love God and love people. We had the perfect recipe to be made strong. It wasn’t so much that we were the underdog facing the giant as much as out heart for success, was to see people’s lives changed eternally.
Wired for success, God has placed within everyone the desire to win. As Paul said no one runs a race without the desire to win. Everyone wants to succeed in their jobs, in school, relationships or any endeavors. Pastors are no different and have been given the vision and wisdom for successful ministry in their community. We all have God given special talents and abilities intended to be used for His glory. The temptation however is to put our vision ahead of the vision and wisdom of God. We like to make things happen and “build the kingdom” even if it is in our own strength, and then later justify it by putting a “God” label on it when we are finished. Our vision and wisdom should be the same as God’s. His wisdom and vision, is Christ. It’s through Christ we see his love. It’s through Christ we see his compassion and it’s through Christ we see his heart toward man. Jesus did nothing except what the father did. What an example to follow. It’s how we can have confidence in the things he asks us to do. You can’t fail when you operate as Jesus did. As a matter of fact you are guaranteed success simply by doing what God asks you to do. All it takes is a little faith and obedience.
As a church, we wanted our hearts to be that after God’s so we started behaving like Him. We began giving and when it didn’t seem like we had enough, we trusted and honored God by giving more. Proverbs 14:31 says whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. I can’t think of a better way for any church to honor God than to seek the kingdom and feed the least of these.
When we read in the bible of the few times where the disciples lost sight of Jesus, when they found him, he was either praying or caring for the weak and needy. He was never found hanging out with people that might improve his social status. His concern was for the lost and broken and not of what people might think of him for doing so. Love was the motivation. Our love for the lost, the weak and needy should be God like in pursuit in that we do it with compassion, empathy and share their feelings. Hebrew 4:15 reminds us we have a High Priest who is moved with the feelings of our infirmities and weaknesses and can empathize with those that are hurting. When we hurt, He hurts. When we are blessed, He is both blessed and glorified.
It is so important to Him that in Mathew 25 He shows us just how deeply connected He is to our cares, and feels our pain and hurts. When someone in need was given food or clothed, He said it was done unto Him. When someone was left hungry, naked or neglected, He said He was the one left hungry, naked or neglected. Clearly to be in the will the father with God-like pursuit, would be to do these things, for as we know, God’s word is His will. Will doing these things add to your righteousness? No, and they probably won’t add to your church either, in fact it will cost your church but you will be sowing to righteousness and the kingdom. Galatians chapter 6 tells us however, that God is not mocked and whatever you sow you will reap. He also gives seed to the sower. Join God’s distribution plan and he won’t let you ever run out. Jeremiah 22:15-16 asks some poignant questions for the king of his kingdom. Does it make you king to have more and more cedars? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, he defended the poor and needy and all went well with him. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD.
The sheep pointed out in Mathew 25 didn’t become righteous because they were the ones that fed, gave drink and clothes to Jesus they didn’t even know they did those things for Jesus. They even said “Lord when did we do these things?” But a close relationship with the Lord is one that knows him and does these things automatically. They should be second nature. It’s the kingdom of self that blocks what the kingdom of God has for us.
I realize not every church sees the importance of a ministry for the poor. It’s not very glamorous. You might say “It’s not what we are called to do” or “We are seeing success in this area or that”. I’m not suggesting and either or but an, “in addition to”. I am not talking about a once a year rah- rah event where you hand out water bottles or candy bars at busy intersections. I am talking about beginning a food pantry or regularly serving at another church’s. Yes another church. To get started, begin praying for the needy and for the Holy Spirit to reveal the needs and give you wisdom. Watch what He does.
We have seen much favor in our pursuit of His kingdom. We are forced to seek His wisdom to properly handle resources and the challenges of growth in ministries. The past week’s events themselves could serve as a stand-alone article any church would find encouraging. The ministries outside of the church both foreign and local are still disproportionate to the size of the church. While visibly we have grown quite a bit, it has not been to the degree that by outward appearances would seem possible to financially sustain any one of ministries of the church, let alone the inner city food ministry. What started out as a few bags of groceries now requires two fork lifts, several box trucks, hundreds of volunteers and two warehouses, one of which is now strictly a resourcing ministry in itself to support over 100 other food pantries. This summer we will launch another food distribution site in another city with the same God-like pursuit. Lives will be changed and God will be glorified.
Pastor Mark Kinman and his wife Rosana frequently tell us how blessed and honored they are to be pastoring this new and exciting church! Prior to launching Faith Church Inc. in 2013, Pastor Mark served in the mission field for over 15 years. These experiences have been witness to countless lives changed through the demonstrated power of God's word that transcends beyond the American culture so many cling to. Pastor Mark delivers the transforming truth in God's word rather than clever opinion.