By Dale Fewson
Preface by Michael Fewson:
Since 2007 we have been led to engage in what we have come to understand as ‘Kingdom Business’. It is the vehicle through which we engage the world. It is not an ‘outreach’ – which can be an aside to our everyday living – but the surrender of our most fundamental purpose of life – work – to the obedience of faith for the advancement of the Kingdom. Rather than our work being a means of financing our lives it becomes the means by which we engage the world. Our ‘income’ will be derived from this place but it is an aside to our purpose of living the Kingdom in the midst of a society at odds with God. As our labour is surrendered to God’s will in a practical and real sense then He truly does become the source and supplier of our daily needs.
Dale wanted to address the team at Essence of Coffee (our – Living Way and AHI’s Kingdom Business) to encourage them to pursue Kingdom service as the purpose of our work. He was subsequently asked to share with the church that meets as Living Way. The following article has been adapted for general reading as it was directed to our particular setting but the content is the same.
My wife and children are currently in the USA while I am here in Australia. The Lord has directed dad and mum (Michael and Lesley Fewson), along with my family and me to go to South Dakota to establish Kingdom Business as a means of mission to the USA. My visa did not get processed in time and I found myself having to remain in Australia.
During this time of separation, I have had time to examine my life and prayerfully consider the meaning of life: does the sum of all that I am, all that I do and all that I will be have a deeper meaning than ‘42’. As a disciple of Jesus Christ I realised that to ponder life and its meaning would be a futile exercise if it were about the pursuit of self-actualization. As a result, the question that I constantly returned to and prayed about was, “how does the Church – which is the body of Christ; The Kingdom – which is the rule and reign of Christ; and Kingdom Business – which is a Christ-centred vehicle for market-place ministry, all fit together?” To be born into God’s Kingdom through Christ is to find purposeful living, therefore to understand the Church, the Kingdom and Kingdom service is to find fulfillment.
My aim for this article is to share with you where I’m at with these things and try to define the church, the kingdom, and our response to the calling of God in our lives and how our different roles/gifts in business play a part in it all.
I want to state here that I am looking from the perspective of our Kingdom Business ‘Essence of Coffee’ and those whose gifts and talents make up the team of ‘ministers’ as we meet and engage the world in the market place. This is specifically applicable to those who have established kingdom Businesses and are seeking to realize the distinction between a Christian in business and a Kingdom Business. But also, through prayerful consideration, these principles are applicable in each person’s sphere of Kingdom service.
I believe that as Kingdom business unfolds and a faithful people remain yielded to the rule and reign of Christ, the manifold wisdom of God will be revealed and God’s people can and will see an unlocking in three separate areas. These are areas where the enemy seeks to keep us captive but where the Lord comes to set the captives free. (For an Old Testament example, see Israel coming out of Egypt).
- Profits – We will see business profits remain in the hands of the people of God at a level unseen before.
- Time – We will be released and have more time to do greater works of service in cooperation with God’s leading by His Spirit in diverse spheres of influence.
- People – We will see more people saved, more people baptized, more people redeemed and freed from the bondages of sin and death.
My key quotes are from scripture, some of my father Michael Fewson’s blog posts and excerpts from his book ‘Will the Real Church Stand Up’ and also part of a book called ‘Set Apart For God’ by John Mulinde, a pastor from Uganda. I recommend this as a must-read for understanding one’s calling in relationship to the body of Christ. Salvation is being brought into the body of Christ as a repentant and productive vessel for Christ’s life rather than the old life of division and individualism perpetuated.
Ephesians 5:22-27 & 32(NIV)
22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansingher by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Pascal Michel (pastor at Living Way in Perth) encapsulated the eternal plan of God when he said years ago, “That we would dwell in the trinity, in holy unity, for all eternity”. At the end of the age, God’s ultimate plan will reach its fulfillment with His family dwelling in unity within the trinity.
For this to occur, man had to be united with God Himself. The only way for man to be united with God was for God to become “one Flesh” with humanity. God then worked salvation for mankind by fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law in Christ, delivering him to death for the sins of man and raising Him to life for our justification (Rom 4:25). He ascended into heaven and sent His Holy Spirit, who from that point on, has been continuously at work calling out from the world those who are being saved.
Within the Church, God is working out His salvation in the lives of his children.
The church is the family of God. It is the environment in which citizens of the Kingdom meet and enjoy the fellowship of the Body of Christ and are given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the saints for works of service or to put it another way to participate within the body of Christ.
Christ is the head of the body and we are many members joined together to make up the church, which is the body. The head tells the body where to go and what to do. This is where the Kingdom comes into play.
The Kingdom is the rule and reign of Jesus on earth. It has come, it is advancing forcefully, is growing dynamically, and determined people from generation to generation are laying hold of it and endeavouring to possess it even as they are possessed by it.
16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
The Gospel specifically is the good news of the Kingdom: The Kingdom has come to all those who will embrace it. The Kingdom speaks of God’s exclusive right to rule and reign over all of creation and of human rebellion to that claim. The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus reveal God’s love of righteousness and justice and underlines God’s supreme right to rule and to be worshipped. It also reveals God’s desire to be known and our need as His creation to know Him (Jn 17:3).
The work of Jesus Christ, now exalted and seated at the right hand of God the Father, contrasts the rebellion and active opposition that humanity finds itself embroiled in and willing participants of.
The rebellion, which originated with Satan seeking to exalt himself above the most High, culminated in the fall of mankind. Since the disobedience of Adam and Eve, who sought to ‘be as gods’, man has continued to pursue self-exaltation (Idolatry), the fullest expression of rebellion against God.
God’s response has been to declare His power and wisdom through the cross and to establish His King over all creation. God the Father has declared Christ supreme over all things and through Christ declared his enmity towards the rebels, carried out their defeat and now works to put every enemy under Christ’s feet (Col 2:15; Lk 20:43) while redeeming people from every nation to be a holy nation belonging to God.
The culmination of that redemptive work will be experienced when the final enemy has been destroyed – death – at the consummation of His Kingdom (1Cor 15:20-28; Heb 2:8). For us who believe, it will mean the end of suffering, the end of bondage to sinful flesh, the end of mortality (experienced as disease, decay and death), the end of sorrow and tears; it will be eternal bliss experienced as joy, righteous freedom, immortality and peace.
Interestingly, the tactics that a rebel army uses are more of guerrilla warfare covertly waiting, ambushing and taking out the weak points. Rebel armies don’t usually have the power to wage an all out war on their enemy.
1 Pet 5:8-9 (NIV)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
So, as the body of Christ we are participating in the advancing Kingdom by continuing firm in our faith through which we are counted righteous by God and through which we participate in the divine nature. (Rom 1:17; 2 Peter 1:4)
The practical aspects of living this way are outlined in Romans 8 as we are exhorted to remain in Christ led by the Holy Spirit with no condemnation and the promise of living in unity in the trinity with no threat or possibility of separation by external forces.
Our work in Kingdom business
Kingdom business is marketplace ministry through which we engage the world from the perspective of the Kingdom. Basically, every single person who is born-again and a child of God is to be actively engaged in the advancing Kingdom. It is a Spiritual Kingdom but it is experienced physically. This is the mistake many make. They think ‘their’ Christianity is ‘spiritual’ and the other stuff of this life is physical.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.
The reality of the Kingdom is that Jesus Christ is Lord OVER ALL. If we are His then He is Lord over all that we do, all that we engage in. So, your work is Kingdom if you are a Kingdom person. If you are not, then it is a personal – read self-ruling – form of self-sustainment.
Non-kingdom minded people see work as a form of financial self-sustainment rather than the creative purpose of God. In understanding that we are the body of Christ, man was created to be the feet of Christ that participates in the advance of the Kingdom through the gospel (see the armour of God) and the arms that stretch out to Him and receive it while stretching out to the world as fishers of men. The Kingdom is not simply some spiritual concept but a present reality in the lives of humanity, principally in the life of those who bow the knee to Jesus Christ.
This completely changes my approach to work and business. I’m reminded of a music joke that used to entertain me as a guitarist. What are lyrics? The time wasted between guitar solos. We can so easily see our work that way. It can become the time wasted between times of service to God.
The church, the Kingdom and our role here on earth
The New Testament describes the principles of the Kingdom, the Old is an example of how God would have us live in the world in relation to the Kingdom and its principles. The OT people had no real experiential knowledge of this but God led their actions and their faith is recorded by obedience. We have both the example shown and the word proclaimed and we therefore are beholden to faith and obedience in Christ.
I see this unfolding in our lives. All things function for the sake of the body. One of our brothers in the faith mentioned to me a few weeks back about how the tribes of Israel lived. I see how the body can be like the tribes of Israel where there are different skill-sets in different tribes but one body. If we imagine all this animated and infused with the spirit and bringing the life and creativity of God, then we begin to see a people of one spirit, contending like one man for the faith and unafraid of any who oppose us (Phil 1:27) and yet moving with the diversity of the trinity and the manifold wisdom of God.
Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom. When the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, Jesus told them that they were to pray that the kingdom of God would come and that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Then he taught them to pray for the body. This is the likeness of God who speaks of Himself as a community in Gen 1:26.
Gen 1:26 (NIV)
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
God created us to be part of His kingdom rule, which can only happen when we are part of His body.
I may believe that I am saved, I may worship and sing and do many things, but if my life is not fulfilling the will of God as a vessel to do God’s will then I am not living out God’s purpose for my being on the earth and therefore continuing in the rebellion. The children of God are set apart for God. Being set apart is all about the kingdom of God, about His will being done on earth.
I mentioned before that the church is the family. It is the environment in which citizens of the Kingdom meet and enjoy the fellowship of the Body of Christ and are equipped for works of service. Those works are works of faith done in the service of the King in our everyday work. Ministry is not what happens in a location or an environment called church, it is what happens wherever we are and this is inclusive of the workplace.
When I asked my father Michael what the purpose of Essence of Coffee (our Kingdom business) was, he said the following, which relates to all that are in the business but also directly applies to other businesses;
Essence Of Coffee (EOC) is a vehicle called into existence by Jesus Christ, established to be a Kingdom vehicle as a point of engagement with the world and in this case, our sphere of influence, that is, that we influence our community as ambassadors of Christ through the opportunities afforded by EOC.
But, we must never forget to be wise stewards of the vehicle provided. Just as the Ark was a means of conveying and identifying the presence of God so too EOC is a vehicle given by God – not that EOC in anyway reflects or resembles the Ark of the Covenant. I am only saying that we must cherish any God-given vessel.
There are many vehicles used by Christ as points of engagement and as places of training for righteous engagement. It is a place where godly young people can interact with the world in a safe and supportive environment. I remember working in the world and the difficulties and temptations not to reflect Christ where I was and the political oughts placed upon me. In worldly employment, we exchange our service for money and are subject to employers’ rules.
The benefits of working in a Kingdom Business are many. It is a place of engaging the world from our own ground. We are free to speak, to act and to live in service to God in the midst of the world. We meet them on our territory. The opportunities to preach Christ through our lives become endless. Recently a customer asked one of our young people out on a date. The young family member had a safe and secure place from which to decline the ‘invitation’ without pressure from others to conform to their standards. They were free to say no because of their commitment to Christ and because of their unwillingness to engage the try before you buy wind of doctrine, which comes from the world. It is also a place of discipleship because they didn’t know how to answer the question in a way that preached Christ. And so they were able, even at work, to seek the advice of Pascal their pastor who was able to help them and equip them for this.
Many members but one body
1 Corinthians 12:20-30 (NIV)
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
The local church is an extraordinary group of men and women. We are committed to Christ and His Kingdom and to each other in covenantal love. No one is considered greater than the other as we serve each other in humility, yet we recognize the unique gifts and callings that God has given to each individually. The older need to teach the younger and make room for each person to fulfill the role that God has gifted them specifically to fill.
In Mark 4, Jesus finished off the parable of the sower with the words “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” The temptation for all believers is to resist the word when it comes. Youth can suffer from the arrogant pride of strength, a sense of indestructibility and visionary knowledge while the older generations can be rendered unable to hear through a sense of having heard it all before making them have a lack a hunger to keep hearing God speak. Let us obediently pursue having ears to hear what the Spirit has to say.
 A reference to “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’s ultimate question: what is the meaning of life, the universe and everything in it!”
God has created us to work (Gen 2:15 and to work is a gift from Him (Eccl 5:19; 8:15). At AHI we recognise that work is kingdom service and is sacred. That to be in business is to be in the market place as servants of God’s advancing kingdom. As such, kingdom purposes shape and drive our kingdom businesses. We seek always to be led in business by the Spirit of the Lord (Rom 8:14).