Missional Outpost or Rest Stop?
Have you ever seen your business or your home on Google Earth, or on a drone camera? If you work from home, that might be the same view. The view from above is different than what you or your employees, customers, or neighbors see from ground level. All of the audiences that you interact with have their own unique way of viewing you - it's kind of like their personal drone footage.
Your business may be organized as a sole proprietorship, an LLC, a corporation, or in some other form. Most people don't care too much about how you are organized unless it impacts a contract or risk they are taking. But we have other ways of seeing businesses, too. Your vendors see you as a client, the IRS sees you as a taxpayer, your employees may just see it as a place to work, the government views you as a legal entity, and your customers hopefully think of you as a place they love to do business.
There is a massive obsession with knowing who is watching your business or personal brand on social media. It's risen to narcissistic levels. You probably get emails every week from LinkedIn with a tally of how many people have looked at your profile. There's no doubt that those social media views have an impact on our business and brand recognition.
All of those different perspectives on your business can cause us to miss a singular viewpoint that matters more than any other. That's the view from heaven.
Who is watching, anyway?
We learned it in Sunday School - God is watching. He has a lot more coverage than the roving eye of Sauron, which the company of the ring sought to avoid. (If you didn't know, that's the Lord of the Rings supervillain).
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)
The Old Testament is full of verses that God loves justice in business Proverbs 16:11 tells us that "Honest scales and balances belong to the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making." He cares about and sees our integrity or the places where we cut corners. His care also extends to his concern for the foreigner, the fatherless, and widows (Deuteronomy 27:19).
The invasion of His Kingdom
Jesus declared and delivered the Kingdom of God to earth. He demonstrated and taught its principles during his ministry and then opened access to personal participation by any who trusted his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of their sins. He sent the Holy Spirit into the hearts of all of those who received Him.
The personal transformation he offers created a new kind of redeemed human, collectively identified by Jesus as His ekklesia - The Greek term for gatherings of citizens. But these are citizens of Heaven, with loyalty to a heavenly king.
Everywhere that those new-creation people gather, work, or serve is now a place where His Kingdom truth, power, and freedom from guilt, shame, or bondage can be a reality. That reality also has character and value expressions too, which transform the laws of the Old Testament and make them realities within the human heart. Love, justice, compassion, faith, and peace, are the things that should characterize His people individually and in their gathered expressions.
It's obvious to any observer and true from a Bible perspective that this work, the invasion of His rulership, is not yet complete. We live in the age of "now, but not yet," which includes the promise of a coming day when He rules completely and redeems the earth.
He sees each Kingdom gathering
Yet today there are gatherings of millions of redeemed people in a hundred different forms, including formal churches, house churches, missional groups, informal gatherings, and believers working together in business.
Each of these gatherings of His Kingdom people is like a Kingdom Outpost. It's a gathering of His Kingdom agents who represent and can bring others into His Kingdom. They are fully empowered to deliver His message and his power wherever they are. In the world of nation-states, we call it an embassy or a consulate - outposts that can do business and have authority.
Jesus was clear about the fact that He sees these gatherings. He said, "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20). What God sees in your business is far deeper than the tax classification or vendor status, and what he is looking for is more than simply passive identification of Christian status.
Outpost or Rest Stop?
Whether your business is a Kingdom Outpost or simply a rest stop on an employee or customer's journey depends on the intentionality of the gathering. In Jesus' words, it has to be "in my name," submitted to Him and his purpose. That's more than simply acknowledging church membership or religious musical tastes, it speaks to those who are on the Kingdom mission to which He called all of his people.
If participation in the Kingdom only required a passive acknowledgment of faith, it would be like closing the doors of a nation's embassy and simply putting up a couple of park benches and a nice sign so that citizens could sit next to each other, and remember what country they hail from.
Kingdom outposts have kingdom intentionality. They are places where the business and character of the kingdom are represented and important interactions take place that impact not only citizens of the Kingdom but everyone who comes in contact with the group as a whole or individuals.
The Brand Disciples program is designed to help Jesus' following business owners and leaders uncover the unique way in which their business has been called and gifted to become a working Kingdom Outpost that does business to express the character and transformative power of His Kingdom with customers, employees, vendors, partners, plus the community around them.
To learn more attend a Brand Disciples Roundtable or register for the 12-week Kingdom DNA Intensive.