"You have the DNA of city transformation!" That proclamation by Doug Stringer shocked Marlene Yeo, who had been serving as youth pastor at her church for several years.
Everything she had been doing was to build up her local church, with no thought of what God might want to do on a broader scale. "Then God wrecked me," she says.
Yeo stumbled across a Transformations video that documents various miraculous moves of God around the world, and she began to see His bigger plan. As she pondered what she had seen, He asked her, "Are you a church person or a kingdom person?"
Stunned, she realized she was no longer satisfied with the status quo. She yearned to see God moving outside the four walls of her church. The Lord quickly connected her with Doug Stringer of Somebody Cares America, and others, to help her define what God was saying. It was no longer "my church, my denomination, my friends." Instead, she understood, "it's His world, His people and His church!"
God birthed in Yeo's heart a vision for her city to be changed by the power of God. She began mobilizing corporate prayer as well as outreach and evangelistic activities that brought believers together across racial and denominational lines. She also brought them together to serve the needs identified by city officials. And the city took notice! Where once there was resistance and suspicion, now there is cooperation and favor. Little by little things are changing in her city. People are coming to Christ and growing in their faith as believers come together for His kingdom purposes.
Matthew 6:33a (MEV) tells us to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness." We are also told, "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14). That is certainly what Jesus did when He was incarnate. He preached about the kingdom over and over again!
Of course, local churches are needed. They are needed "to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature" (Eph. 4:11-13a, NIV).
It is good to serve in a local church, as long as you don't elevate its importance above God's kingdom—which includes the whole body of Christ! Be willing to lay down your local church's agenda for God's greater purpose when called, and transformation will begin in your community, too.
Dr. Jodie Chiricosta is vice president of Somebody Cares America/International. She teaches and consults on a variety of Christian living and leadership topics and is a host of the Charisma podcast "Her God Story." Please visit her website at somebodycares.org/hergodstory.
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