I imagine the Kingdom of God is a lot like the SDB World Federation sessions from January 2017 in Curitiba, Brazil.

By John Pethtel

Vice President for North America SDB World Federation

 

The World Federation is a gathering of delegates from member SDB conferences around the world. It often includes representatives from conferences who are not yet members as well. These delegates gather together to discuss the business of the World Federation, which meets generally every five years, and for member conferences to communicate and cooperate with each other in their ministries. English is the official language of the World Federation, although many others are often spoken.

The Kingdom of God is like the SDB World Federation sessions because of a common belief that the Word of God as the revelation of God is meaningful and powerful.

The Bible, as God’s words for us, was constantly at the forefront of the many discussions, prayers, meetings,worship times, and studies that occurred over the course of the week we had together. While some disagreements happen on the application of God’s words into our everyday lives, there was no disagreement on its primacy or power for us. The Bible was constantly used as a standard of our faith in practice, whether it was in a business meeting or at a friendly soccer game. One day when the Kingdom of God is in its fullness, the audible Word of God spoken by the King Himself will be perfectly understood, obeyed, and lived out. What a great desire to share as SDBs!

The Kingdom of God is like the SDB World Federation sessions because of the concern rendered for all of God’s people, not just a few.

This time was not just an assembly of a privileged few to talk about how to help those with greater need. This was a gathering in which, as a representative of the USA & Canada, I was encouraged, rebuked, corrected, and shepherded with a genuine love and desire that our conference look more and more like a movement of Jesus rather than a business or philanthropy. So many laughs and cries were shared about how the grace of God was thick with SDBs around the world. One day when the Kingdom of God is in its fullness, true equality with each other and Christ will be gained. We will truly be brothers and sisters and co-heirs of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is like the SDB World Federation sessions because of the praise and worship of God from all tongues and tribes.

While there was a lot of singing (including a Federation choir), the Holy Spirit was present in our conversations,meetings, and fellowship times which encouraged us to be praiseworthy to our Savior. I learned more Portuguese than I ever thought I would need but found that even when language fails us, the Spirit in one person can find a connection with the Spirit in another. One day when the Kingdom of God is in its fullness, language and how to worship God will no longer be an issue as we will all sing, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!”

The Kingdom of God is like the SDB World Federation sessions because the ultimate focus is on King Jesus.

While there was conversation and concerns about what ministries are happening in each of our member conferences and how each conference can help one another, no conversation or request ever strayed very far from Jesus and our desire to serve Him. Whether it was helping the “least of these” or starting new churches or removing obstacles for the people in our countries to hear about the Gospel, the desire to act like and serve like Jesus was always paramount. One day when the Kingdom of God is in its fullness, our pre-existing, once and future King, Jesus Christ, will rule over NEW heavens and a NEW earth to receive the praise and glory that is due to Him.

Until the day when the Kingdom of God is in its fullness, the SDB World Federation provides a foretaste of what that fullness may look like as we strive to make King Jesus famous to the ends of the earth.

If you want to become involved with the SDB World Federation, here are a few ways:

1. Work with the SDB Missionary Society to partner with our member conferences and their work.

2. Support the travel and communication of World Federation delegates through your financial contributions.

3. Subscribe to the SDB World newsletter or visit sdbwf.org often.

4. Be an active contributor and participant in your own conference.

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