The goal of this study is to explore the relationship between the biblical and theological understandings of Jesus’ image of the kingdom of God and a local congregation. This paper argues that Jesus’ image of the kingdom of God can provide a more comprehensive and effective model for the life and mission of Reformed Protestant congregations in Hawaii than other images and models that are more common and more widely used. The thesis was tested through new membership classes, sermon series, Bible study groups in Mililani Presbyterian Church in Mililani, Hawaii, and Ocean Beach Presbyterian Church in Seaview, Washington.
Through an examination of Scripture this study identifies the kingdom of God as the central theme of Jesus’ thought and teaching and the preeminent image used by him to represent the “abundant life” accessible to his followers. A review of contemporary Christian writers demonstrates that new emphasis on the kingdom of God is having a positive influence on Christian thought. A further review of the historic “Six Great Ends of the Church” in the Presbyterian Church U.S. A. discerns the sixth “Great End,” “the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world,” to be relevant and applicable to a local congregation. Lastly, a model for interpreting and integrating the image of the kingdom of God into the life and ministry of a local congregation is presented and introduced to two congregations.
The study concludes that Jesus’ preferred image of the kingdom of God provides a dynamic and comprehensive way to organize and interpret the purpose and life of a local congregation to its members. While some church members found the image to be helpful many others preferred different images for the church that were more traditional and which had been previously integrated into their life.
Content Reader: Randy L. Rowland, DMin
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Tweedie, James A., "Re-visioning Local Congregations as Being the Exhibition of the Kingdom of God to the World" (2011). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 60.