Castle - Kingdom Mindset

Developing a Kingdom Mindset

I’ve known quite a few seasons of ministry difficulty in my life, but one stands out among the most challenging. My wife Debi and I began leading a local college ministry with visions of accomplishing amazing things for God. Twenty-one months later, I felt as though we had lost more ground than we had gained. All of our prayer (with fasting) initiatives and outreach efforts seemed to have accomplished nothing. And at one particularly low point, we had only three students—only one of whom was genuinely interested—turn out for our weekly meeting. An experience at about that time forever changed my ministry perspective.

Going to the Lord in prayer—as I often did—I began to cry out for Him to move through our ministry so that we could impact students’ lives. It was then that the Holy Spirit spoke to me. The Voice wasn’t audible, but it was clear as day nonetheless. “I want you to pray for Campus Crusade.”

I was not ignorant of the irony of the situation. At that time, Campus Crusade (now CRU) ran well over a hundred students at their weekly meetings. The Lord was asking (or was He telling?) me to pray His blessings over a group that made ours look like one of the run-down rental houses that surrounded our campus. I scoffed, “Yeah, right, Lord! What’s wrong with this picture?” It was then that I heard the Voice a second time. “Whose kingdom are you building, yours or Mine?”

I Was Blind

At that moment, God revealed my blindness. I felt as though a curtain had been pulled back, fully exposing my ugly and selfish motives. Yes, I loved the Lord and genuinely wanted to honor His name by making an impact on campus. But there was also a whole lot of selfish me in the mix. My insecurities had compelled me to view ministry success as the path to significance—almost like a magic elixir—that would make all my past pains and failures vanish into thin air.

At the time, I thought I was unique, that I numbered among only a few self-centered souls who sought to build their own kingdoms in God’s name. But over the years, I have come to realize that those who serve God with truly humble and selfless motives are the rare breed.

A Kingdom Mindset

That experience—that lasted no more than a minute—many years ago profoundly influenced my perspective of Christian ministry. I began to realize that the advance of the gospel was not merely the work of individual Christians or organizations. It is to be the collective work of all God’s people. I soon adopted what I call a “kingdom mindset.” Not my kingdom. God’s.

My real kingdom efforts began by networking with the other ministries on our campus. And when we eventually left the campus to launch Search for Me Ministries, we continued to support and connect the local campus ministers. Then, after another decade or so, the Lord began to connect our local pastors.

What a joy it has been to relate to Christian leaders on both fronts! Rather than criticizing and competing, we have two groups of ministry leaders who are growing in friendship while working together for the sake of the gospel. And what refreshing life we are beginning to experience!

The world has yet to see a unified family of God coming together in love and prayer. This means that God’s best is yet to come as He aligns the hearts of His people to actually obey Jesus commands by loving one another.

Whose kingdom are you building?