The Kingdom Journey Series shares how Christians with roots in the Restoration Movement came to embrace Kingdom Christianity.
Name: Steve and Steph Jordan |Location: Ohio | Rest. Mov. Roots: International Churches of Christ
1.) Brother and Sister Jordan, tell us a little about yourselves?
We have been married for eighteen years and have five amazing kids whom we homeschool. As far as work, we have a vending machine business and our blessed that I (Steve) can now work from home as an accountant. We have lived in Ohio/Northern Kentucky most of our lives, apart from a short stint in Arizona.
2.) When did you both come to follow Jesus?
We were converted in the International Church of Christ in 1996 (Steve) and 1997 (Steph) during which time we learned discipleship and the basics of the gospel.
3.) Can you explain your background and involvement in the International Churches of Christ?
Once converted, like many others, we were in leadership pretty quickly, eventually going on full-time ministry staff. We also started a chemical recovery ministry given our background in drug/alcohol abuse.
We continued to serve on staff for several years before leaving in 2002-03 in the months after the reorganization caused by the Henry Kriete letter. We homeschooled with many folks from the ICOC, and maintain many of those relationships to this day.
In recent years, we have been back in fellowship to a degree with people in the ICOC, though we do not commune with them. They respect us and our convictions, and are somewhat humble in many respects regarding our convictions, as most of them are unfamiliar with Kingdom-centered convictions.
4.) How did you become interested in a more “radical”, Kingdom focused Christianity? What does that journey look like?
We read David Bercot’s books (Finny Kuruvilla’s book “King Jesus Claims His Church” was helpful, as well), but at that time were busy growing churches. After we left the ICOC, I (Steve) worked for a Christian Church and we helped form a church plant with a team of people. The church is doing well by American Evangelical standards, as we had not yet embraced Kingdom teaching when we worked with them.
Jesus being the head of the church in truth and reality, not just in word, has become very important to us. Particularly, the handling of communion is the best indicator we have seen as to this headship issue, for if a church treats communion flippantly, it is a warning sign that the Head is missing.
It has been a process for us, doing various house churches through the years on and off and seeing the fruit in the churches we have known through the years, etc.
5.) What have been some of the difficulties along the way?
Having three of our kids in the middle of their formative years exposed to Evangelical churches, and seeing the need to move towards more grounded groups has been very challenging. As Paul says, marriage divides our interests. We want relationships for our kids, but struggle knowing the cost of those relationships is a compromise in holiness and, frankly, numbers of people, as Kingdom-minded folk are scattered and relatively scarce.
We do not want to go from lawless Christianity to rules-based holiness with our kids. They will have to sift through a lot just to see God.
6.) How does Kingdom-centered Christianity play out practically in a marriage? What advice can you give to young couples who may be on the same journey as you and your wife were?
The sooner you get the King to be the head of your home, the better. There is nothing like taking communion as a couple, and having accountability before partaking keeps the throne in its rightful place!
7.) What can conservative Anabaptists learn from the Restoration Movement and vice versa?
When I (Steve) think of the Restoration Movement, I think of a very incomplete restoration. Establishing, the preeminence of Scripture (at least in theory) and dismissing associations and societies overseeing church bodies was huge, but much has been left undone and holiness has been sacrificed on the altar of “being relatable.”
“You shall know them by their fruits”, Jesus said.
Traditional Church of Christ circles resemble the Anabaptists (mostly) with their rules and piety, but still only just so. Even (especially) in the ICOC, worldliness abounds and persists.
The Anabaptists, however, are shackled by rules that stifle growth. Both Anabaptists and Restoration Churches would do well to abandon group-think and come together in humility to learn from each other.
8.) What church do you attend currently?
We are in a rather nauseous state of flux in the ICOC Cincinnati, OH. We are strongly considering starting a fellowship here just north of Kings Island Amusement Park where we live.
9.) What encouragement would you give to a reader in a Restoration Movement church who is going through a “Kingdom awakening” of their own?
Live outside the box!
Do not forget Revelation and the book of Acts – as well as Matthew and Jesus’s teachings towards the Pharisees. Revelation has warnings that are best to heed when considering worldliness, and the book of Acts has convictions for those who are comfortable in their piety. The reliance on the Holy Spirit in Acts prompted many radical things to happen, from gentile conversion to jail breaks.
You don’t get to witness God if you are in a church where programming is the thrust, and sermons and staff are the Head.
Beware of the allure of prosperity in the U.S. and other first world countries.
10.) Finally, what is on your bookshelf or what are you reading currently ?
On books, there are too many to list…Law, Ravenhill, Richardson, Finney, among others… The first two volumes in particular of the Ante-Nicene Fathers.
Elliot Nesch’s Sermon on the Mount commentary.
Some books on the holocaust, and a couple other books for my (Steve) profession and entertainment.
11.) Anything else you would like to add?
I (Steve) am a studier of people, and am very interested in sociology and in what people are doing in regards to their journeys.
Please pray for us as we consider our next steps. And those who have current fellowships, please be humble. Other people have probably walked your steps before, and you would do well to heed their advice. The book of Proverbs says as much for a reason!
Thank you for your time and prayers.