What is Happening in The PCA
Interview with Charles Dunahoo: Making Kingdom Disciples of Men
Article originally part of “Get in the Game”
a periodic email communication from CEP
January/February 2008 Vol. 4 No.1
Introductory Comments by Gary Yagel. Men are made for mission. That mission, in Genesis 1:27-28, was to exercise dominion over the earth for its true King. Now, redeemed men are restored to the same mission, but must accomplish it in a fallen world. We are to seek first the kingdom of God, expanding the rule of Christ into every sphere of our lives, culture, and world. If men’s ministry is to be effective, we must challenge men with a vision big enough to resonate with their internal drive to accomplish a great mission. That vision is to live out the values of God’s kingdom-to make the invisible kingdom of God visible, everywhere we go, in every sphere of our lives, over every square inch of planet earth.
Charles Dunahoo has challenged the church to recover a proper view of discipleship, i.e. discipleship centered in an understanding of the Kingdom of God and our role in that kingdom.
GITG: Charles, you believe the calling of the church is to make kingdom disciples. What do you mean by that?
Charles: To be a kingdom disciple means to consciously think like a Christian and live with a holistic world and life view, which is oriented to the kingdom of God, seven days a week. It involves more than Bible study and prayer; it is doing all things to the glory of God.
GITG: What key elements of kingdom theology has the church failed to grasp?
Charles: The relationship between the church and the kingdom– we have confused the church’s role in general and this impacts individuals about their role in the church and kingdom. For example, in my view, the church errs, when it directly speaks, as an institution, on political issues or establishes its own institutionalized mercy ministries. The church’s main focus should be making kingdom disciples and doing so in a way that equips them or kingdom living in all of life.
GITG: But doesn’t the church today need to call its members into a greater commitment to mercy ministry?
Charles: Absolutely. in fact that is the other side of the failure. We are failing to call our members to be kingdom disciples who are committed as individuals to living as kingdom members, which includes engaging in mercy ministry. The church must make disciples who are holistic in their thinking about seeking first the kingdom. Mercy ministry belongs with gospel ministry. The church should call Christ-followers to use their gifts to set up orphanages, build hospitals, begin crisis pregnancy centers or to address human needs issues. The church should not directly build or administer such institutions but rather serve as the catalyst encouraging Christians to do those things.
GITG: Get In the Game is about men’s ministry. How would seeing himself as a kingdom disciple change the way a man goes about his everyday life?
Charles: He sees his relationship to Christ in a holistic way. He is committed to serving the Lord in whatever he does. He is committed to doing all he does for the glory of God. In my book I mention the story of Mr. Pump, the haberdasher in A. A. Milne’s novel, Two People. Mr. Pump has one top hat for church on Sunday, and another hat to wear the rest of the week. He never confuses the two, because in his mind his spiritual life and secular life are completely separate. But a kingdom disciple understands that we don’t have two hats. His motivation for leading his business is the glory of God and he operates his business in a way that is consistent with kingdom values set forth in God’s Word.
GITG: How does a man seeing himself as a kingdom disciple engage that man’s heart?
Charles: He learns to love the things Christ loves. For example, Christ loves his bride, the church. One of my problems with the emerging church is its tendency to de-emphasize the church. Kingdom disciples are committed to the church, because it is the bride Christ loves. The King also has a heart for widows and orphans. This requires that we too have heart for them, as we follow his example.
GITG: How can the church do a better job of producing kingdom disciples?
Charles: In the discipleship process we need to think like Christians in order to see the big view.. We need to be intentional about teaching our members how to think Biblically about issues, helping them learn how to connect the dots. Men like to see the big picture. They like to know the reason why they should do something. We must equip our people to take every thought captive to Christ and apply them to our daily lives.
GITG: What else would you say to church leaders in men’s ministry about making kingdom disciples?
Charles: We must be gospel centered in all that we do, but we must remember that the gospel is the good news of the coming kingdom. Mark tells us, “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, ‘The time has come,’ he said, ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the gospel’” (Mark 1:14-15). There is a lot of emphasis today on spiritual formation, but as important as that is, we tend to have a man-centered approach in that it is about me and my spiritual life and development. In reality it is about God and his will. The kingdom perspective is God-centered. Men want significance and they respond to challenges. The kingdom perspective challenges everyone from lawyers to grocery store owners to teachers and mechanics to view their vocations as service for the king.