The last ten years have seen a surge in the variety of evangelical relief & development responses to poverty. The whole business-as- mission (BAM) movement has sprung up in that time. Some authors are questioning the validity of short-term mission trips and offering alternatives. Job creation has become a viable mission effort. Evangelical microfinance organizations have been started. Christians have begun realizing the long-term value of training and business education. However, many of these newer movements in evangelicalism have co-opted the “kingdom” label to brand almost any effort to bring peace, justice, opportunity, and freedom to the poor and oppressed. And as we will see, almost all have unhooked the church from the kingdom and have bypassed or ignored local churches—both in the United States and abroad—in their “kingdom” solutions.
How can we have kingdom ministry and kingdom solutions and kingdom initiatives without “kingdom outposts?” Are all good works kingdom works? When everything is “kingdom” is the word any longer useful? Is there a distinctive kingdom response to the poor and to injustice? Let’s put our thinking caps on . . .