This phrase has many origins, all of which lead to a question: What should this phrase look like when put into practice?
It is referenced by Peter in 1 Peter 2:9 as a ‘royal priesthood,’ which I believe was inspired by Exodus 19:6, where it is written: “you will be to me a kingdom of priests.”
From the single priest of the Old Testament, to everyone of us, through Jesus, being priests, there is still however some work to do for it to be fully lived out in practice.
Let me start with these 5 thoughts on what it should lead to:
A church that serves the Kingdom
Everyone knowing they are priests
Everyone knowing they are SENT
Everyone knowing their purpose and value for the Kingdom
The erasing of a secular/sacred divide in life and work
Let me start with being SENT. I believe specifically that every believer should have the awareness of being Sent twice.
Firstly SENT from heaven to earth, and secondly SENT through the church into the world to expand the influence of King Jesus and His Kingdom.
We are ALL PRIESTS, scripture makes this clear, but sometimes in my experience and the observation of others it doesn’t always feel like that. A gathering church will tend to place its value through language and behaviour on what is done in the church, but a sending (apostolic) church will place its value and behaviour on what happens through the church and out into society.
I sometimes hear career ministers or perhaps more often those around them say, “you have no idea of the sacrifice that this ministry requires.’ Whilst in many instances this is correct it can have inadvertent consequences.
A comment like this can make the church ministry appear more important than the Kingdom and the priest in the church more important than the priest in the Kingdom inadvertently exacerbating a divide of importance, sacrifice, and value.
My emphasis is not about devaluing the ‘minister,’ far from it, it’s about raising the bar of value of everyone. It’s not about not having church, it’s about the church fulfilling its role and mandate more fully, being a sending church, alongside being a place of worship, healing, equipping, and belonging as family.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a cost, career ministry done well requires commitment and a willingness to work hard, with a personal cost and a cost for families, but it is not by any means unique to the career minister.
I have friends who are Doctors, on call day and night, and the evening before a surgery they will need to go to bed unusually early, so as to be fully alert for surgery. There are interruptions to their lives, a price paid by family, the emotional toil of dealing with sickness, death, and disease, and often a longer than 40 hour working week. I want them to know that they are valued as first class ministers of the gospel of the Kingdom, with or without a title in the church, and perhaps unable to attend as many meetings as someone else.
When we create a culture that emphasises value for the time spent in church, the contributions made, and the titles carried, we tend to fail to emphasis the value of the contribution of a wider service to the Kingdom.
Attending church should refresh, empower, energise, encourage, validate, and SEND, it should not be the sole measurement of a persons spiritual or Kingdom contribution.
I want to see the Kingdom of Priests be a lived out reality and experience. A revival, reformation/transformation of society, and a new renaissance depends on it.
SENT and SEND is a mandate on my life. It is the result of my life experience, my understanding of scripture, personal prophetic words, and the needs of our world.
I am determined for my part to continue the movement of SENT ones which Jesus started.
My desire is for everyone to know that they are SENT, whoever they are, whatever they do, and wherever they go. To achieve this they must have a deep inner conviction that they are SENT.
The knowledge that we are all priests must be lived out, the church must empower everyone to know that they are SENT with Kingdom purpose and value
Expanding the kingdom depends on it, a Kingdom of Priests is the how, but:
A KINGDOM of PRIESTS requires that we all change.
We need a consistently Kingdom focussed church, a family army of SENT ones, the evidence of the Priesthood of all believers, who all know their purpose and value in and for the Kingdom and the erasing of any trace of a secular/sacred division.
SENT and SEND will launch in late October/early November and I will be starting with leading people to know that they are 1st class ministers of the gospel of the Kingdom. To that end I want everyone to believe their story, know that he wastes nothing, develop a personal manifesto for their career, job, or role and know that they are SENT.
Isaiah 61:6 perhaps sums it up best:
“But you will be called priests of the Lord; you will be spoken of as ministers of our God.”
That is not a reference to Isaiah 61:1 and the anointed priest, but to those who are set free, bound up, and given the good news by the priest. In other words it is for us all, and so we should take our place in the Kingdom of Priests and pursue the increase, demonstration, and establishing of His Kingdom here on earth.