The fact that God is one, and all churches claim to worship him in truth and spirit, raises the provocative question of why a person would prefer one church to another. People possess different views concerning the various churches.
Therefore, they employ incredible attempts to pursue a myriad of ways that would perhaps enable them accomplish their mission of finding a perfect church. To many people, these perfect church sounds like the ultimate avenue that would enable them to enter paradise. However, does a perfect church exist? Gene
Summary of the book
In his book The Kingdom Focused Church, Mims believes that a perfect church is inexistence (2003, p.3). In fact, chapter 1 ‘In search of the perfect church’ presents the traits of a perfect church. It ought to give generously, pray and worship in truth and spirit. He advocates for people to embrace the kingdom focused church model rather than moving from one church to another in search of perfection.
Chapter 2 presents an illustration of a church that works, which he expounds in chapters 3 up to 6. He says, “Dreams can replace reality if we are not careful. And whatever a church it is real” (Mims 2003, 27). Mims pays a lot of attention to describe the meaning of the title ‘the kingdom focused church’. He explores each of the four words making up the topic of the book in depth.
This entangles a major component of the book since it carries about seventy pages. The remaining chapters are rather more conclusive. In these chapters, he presents five church models that he believes have ardently developed the calls for kingdom-focused church.
These models are willow creek, located in Chicago, suburban; southeastern Christian church, situated in Louisville, fellowship church, located in Irving, saddleback community church located in Lake Forest in California, and first Baptist church, located in Daytona Beach.
Despite arguing out that all these churches are different in one way or another, he insists that they are consistent with his proposed model of kingdom-focused church.
Amid the book being highly motivational, various weaknesses are evident. In the first place, he states that “…my comments do not rely on scientific models” (Mims 2003, 23). Without deploying some time to describe this proposition, he quickly adds exclusions. He notes, “they are solid as qualitative models are” (24).
In this context, one should not attempt to look out for quantifiable models or even verifiable data since Mims’ book does not guarantee availability of such data in it. In fact, he openly admits that he does not endeavor to provide objective evidence to back up or validate his kingdom-focused model of a church. Secondly, he utilizes many volumes attempting to lay the foundation of the book’s main premise.
For instance, it would serve no harm to the premise of the book leaving the detailed description of what Mims refers to as ‘the’ in the title of the book. Consequently, he takes the reader through a lot of literature before the introduction of the main premise. Thirdly, Mims identifies the third weakness himself when he says, “It is not likely that I have said much in this book that is new to you” (2003, 179).
This perhaps portrays an accurate statement about the contents of the book. For those seeking to acquire some unknown information concerning the kingdom focused church model, they probably would not get it in this book. Lastly, every model of kingdom focused church that Mims upholds seem to inculcate the view of associating kingdom focused church model with super churches.
One crucial drawback of such a perception is that perhaps the reader would tend to think that if his or her church becomes kingdom focused, then it would end up being a super church. This is a gigantic weakness especially by noting that remarkably little percentage of churches of the United States is characterized by the mega church phenomenon.
Despite the weaknesses of the book, some strengths of the book also are evident. Although, the book initially dedicates a better part of its volume to the description of the meaning of the title, which the author could have reduced without any significant effects to the premise of the book, the contents of the first seventy pages presents many materials, which give the book incredible strength.
In fact, these materials are highly motivational to new ministers wishing to adopt the church model presented by the author. For those ministers who perhaps fill disappointed by their current churches, and may be contemplating to move on and start some new ministry, chapter one of the book is significantly beneficial, as it devotes itself to discussing the endeavors of searching for a perfect church.
The author voices out a crucial fundamental strength of the book when he advises that there exists no perfect church. Therefore, attempting to solve the problem of perceived church imperfections only serves to aggravate the problem of searching for a perfect church since people cannot find such a church.
The material presented in chapter eleven, twelve and thirteen also makes the book worth reading. In fact, these chapters appear as the heart of the entire book. The discussion of open groups coupled with closed groups and aspects of ministry teams is significant in the endeavors to transform new members into involved members of the church.
Implementing the model of the kingdom-focused church requires people to do a number of things. According to Mims, it requires one to conceptualize the whole process into three separate entities: biblical principles and church practice, which in turn yields kingdom results. For biblical principles, one requires five functions to have an ardent care taken of him/her.
These are evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry and worship (Mims 2003, 119). The church practice sphere embraces making discipleship, which translates into the process of maturing believers and finally the multiplication of ministries. The church, in addition, entails interactions of open groups, closed group ministry teams and corporate worship.
Upon successful implementation of the latter two, one has to anticipate numerical growth, spiritual growth, ministry expansion coupled with advancing of the kingdom. Somewhat an overriding strategy for ensuring successful realization of creation of a kingdom-focused church relies on the power of training.
Mims reckons, “Because we are so pressed for time today, many of our churches are failing at this critical point” (2003, 138). In this context, it is impossible to have ample realization of coming up with a kingdom-focused church if one does not take his or her time to work on the strategies that would make his ambitions work.
In fact, “if you do not train, you will have people doing their own things…you will never reach your strategy” (Mims 2003, 138). However, such training needs to conform to the biblical church models.
Mims’ chief concern is arguably about how people attempt to ensure the growth of the church today: through ungodly ways. To him, the kingdom of God means letting the will of God done on the planet earth. Consequently, those seeking to grow their churches by deploying God-directed methodologies perhaps deserve to read and reread this book.
Despite the fact that the book employs incredibly less innovative materials, it is not an appalling read for people wishing to review a variety of information they have encountered and embraced elsewhere. Otherwise, it suffices to declare Mims’ book an informative piece of work heavy-laden with content that is relevant to the contemporary worshippers.
Mims, Gene. 2003. The Kingdom Focused Church: A Compelling Image of an Achievable Future for Your Church. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing Group.