Networking to Wake Up a Spiritually Sleepy Nation

 The moral and spiritual situation of America seems to have hit an all-time low, especially if you haven’t lived for all time (i.e., for all of us).  Marriage disappears as births out of wedlock predominate.  Divorce puts an end to half of marriages.  Pornography and foul language proliferate, even among our national leaders.  Corruption in our society runs rampant.  Church attendance continues to slide.  Historic denominations not only lose members, but drive them away by taking unbiblical, unorthodox doctrinal and moral stands.  The church unquestionably needs a revival and the society needs an awakening.

Nevertheless, the idea that we face an all-time low in faith bears further consideration.  Recently a friend of mine facebooked the following quote from J. Edwin Orr, a greatest historian of revival:

Not many people realize that in the wake of the American Revolution there was a moral slump. Drunkenness became epidemic … Profanity was of the most shocking kind. … Women were afraid to go out at night for fear of assault. Bank robberies were a daily occurrence.

 What about the churches? The Methodists were losing more members than they were gaining. The Baptists said that they had their most wintry season. The Presbyterians in general assembly deplored the nation’s ungodliness … The Lutherans were so languishing that they discussed uniting with Episcopalians who were even worse off. The … Episcopal Bishop of New York … quit functioning… The Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, wrote …  that the Church “was too far gone ever to be redeemed.” Voltaire averred, and Tom Paine echoed, “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.” 

Take the liberal arts colleges at that time. A poll taken at Harvard had discovered not one believer in the whole of the student body. They took a poll at Princeton, a much more evangelical place: they discovered only two believers in the student body, and only five that did not belong to the filthy speech movement of that day. Students rioted. They held a mock communion at Williams College; and they put on anti-Christian plays at Dartmouth … They took a Bible out of a local Presbyterian church in New Jersey, and burned it in a public bonfire. Christians were so few on campus in the 1790s that they met in secret … and kept their minutes in code so that no one would know.

  In case this is thought to be the hysteria of the moment, Kenneth Scott Latourette, the great church historian, wrote: “It seemed as if Christianity were about to be ushered out of the affairs of men.”–J. Edwin Orr (see

One of the most powerful functions of the Kingdom Net (what I call the global network of people who submit to Christ’s Kingly Rule) involves our ability to call each other to prayer.  God has seen America descend into spiritual chaos and sinful squalor at several times over our history.  (Remember the Wild West, the Gay ‘90s, the Roaring ‘20s, etc.)  Things have been as bad as they are now, and we can indeed see a new revival of the Church and another Great Awakening in America.

And it can only happen as we use our personal networks to let God’s call to repentence and faith spread.  It does not start with railing accusations of the sin of others.  It starts with personal prayer and repentence.  It starts with our own testimony of renewal.  May it start soon, before the damage goes any further.

As Kingdom networkers, would you join me in repentence, sorrow, and earnest prayer for the awakening of our nation?

For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Pre-order it in paperback or Kindle editions at

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at

Kingdom Networking and the Experience Economy

In 1971, Alvin Toffler predicted in Future Shock that an “experiential industry” was coming in which people would spend a large percentage of their income on achieving amazing experiences.  Just as he predicted, the experience economy has emerged, in which people want more for their money than just a product or a service.  They want memorable, even transformational experiences! (See Pine & Gilmore, The Experience Economy).

In my industry, higher education, we understand that students want more than just a job credential.  They want a whole life-changing experience, complete with the formation of life-long networks of friends and mentors to “do life together” with them.  What pleasure we get from providing it!

Kingdom networkers also strive to create a powerful, life-changing experience through the services they offer to people, ultimately bringing them into a saving relationship with God.  At times, we may get the privilege of leading someone directly to Jesus, in whom they will find an Eternal Life that starts now.  No one will ever forget the moment Jesus saved them and they were born again.  But often, leading people to Jesus involves a lot of experiences on the way to an eventual decision to follow Christ (or even a realization that such a decision has gradually ocurred.)

“Get Saved Quick Schemes” that expect people to listen to a rational message and make an immediate decision to follow Christ represents the old, pre-Future Shock, modernistic economy of rational choice about scarce goods and services.  That approach may or may not have worked in the past. (It is commonly said that only 1 in 10 people who make such decisions to follow Christ actually become disciples).   But in today’s experience-oriented world, it often takes a rich, sustained experience of friendship or community and a series of exposures to the presence of God to bring people to a truly transforming encounter with Christ.

Today’s Kingdom networkers recognize that a deep, qualitative dimension of personal engagement should characterize their interactions with people.  Their networking involves more than just an exchange of contact data and a rational process of weighing the benefits of interaction.  They do their work best when they walk in the Spirit, empowered by Jesus not only to do singularly miraculous, occasional deeds, but also to express miraculous love continually in multiple small ways that pave a path to Jesus for the people they meet.

For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Pre-order it in paperback or Kindle editions at

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at


Four Things You Can do to Restore the Rightful King

According to The Telegraph, a British newspaper, the “rightful king” of England recently died—no less a personage than Michael Abney-Hastings, the 14th Earl of Loudoun and a forklift driver in the tiny town of Jerilderie, population 768.  (See…Australia.html)

According to some observers, a serious miscarriage of justice occurred in 1461, when King Edward IV ascended to the British throne.  By their lights, the kingship should have returned to the House of Plantagenet instead of establishing the Yorkist dynasty.  They base their claim on a belief that Edward’s legal “parents” were 100 miles apart when he was conceived, and thus, he did not have a legitimate right to accede.

Dynasties have come and gone since then.  The present Windsor Dynasty derives from the Hanover Dynasty—think King George III—who were Germans brought in to rule England. Much trouble, struggle and disruption have ocurred.  Who has the valid claim to the throne?  Does it matter at all?  I would judge that, given the symbolic character of the British Crown, the matter has no importance at all.  If dynastic succession did not determine who holds the sceptre, elections (or perhaps even a national lottery!) would do an equally adequate job of it.

So what? Even if it doesn’t matter who the British king is, it does matter who sits on the throne of your life.  For most people, a usurper has risen up to demand the Rule—their own self.  Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, became the rightful king of every person on earth by bearing our sins on the Cross.  When His Kingdom comes to our lives, God’s Will begins to reign on Earth as it does in Heaven.  God works eternal life into us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  God breaks the curse of sin in us and sets us free.  Our lives become the channel through which Jesus moves to take rule in the lives of others.

There are three things we can do to place the rightful king on the throne rule of the world.

(1) We can make Jesus the Lord of our own lives and really live out his rule, rejecting sin and choosing the life-gving things of God over the deadly poisons of worldliness;

(2) We can serve as the network through which the Spirit of God speaks to other people about the Rule of Christ in their lives, sharing our testimony of God’s transformative reign in our lives;

(3) We can pray for the salvation of the world, give financially to ensure the spread of the Gospel, and encourage other people to become involved in the Church’s Mission in the World;

(4) We can fulfill God’s Mission by partnering with God in the meeting of human need in every aspect of life.  Not everyone has the spiritual gift of evangelism, and not everyone has a primary calling to the professional church ministry.  Our work matters in expressing God’s Will in every area of life.  God wants people to live full, satisfying lives.  Our everyday work can be a holy and sacred act of worship when it expresses God’s Rule in our life for the sake of the world.

You can read more about all of this—especially point #4—in The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Pre-order it in paperback or Kindle editions at

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at

Social Petworking: Playful Dos and Don’ts


Like social networking, which increases connections among people by using existing relationships, social petworking connects people through the leveraging of pet power.  Even the British Royal Family engages in social petworking!  Despite the fact that Prince Andrew and the Duchess Kate have the world’s most popular baby, they recently chose to augment their public appeal by releasing a photo that included their dog.[1]

Recently, before the royal petography came out, I visited the Oregon coast with my friends Chris and Jeannie Edwardson.   Chris insisted on including his dog in a picture of my lovely family.  He guaranteed me that if I posted it on Facebook, the first comment would mention the dog.  Sure enough, it did.  See:  (Take time to like my page.)

People love pets!  Everyone has seen people walking their dogs and connecting with other pet owners.   (Dogs seem to be the most effective petworkers.)  Young men in search of dates will borrow a cute dog to walk it through the park, because cute dogs are “chick magnets.”

Pets can be powerful networking tools, and Kingdom Networkers should take note of the power of social petworking.  Remember:  our purpose drives us to connect with people so we may serve them, advancing God’s mission through the meeting of human need.  The more contacts we have, the more we are able to connect people with each other for mutual benefit, and the more we can serve as conduits for God’s Power to reach them.  Pets can be a part of effective Kingdom Networking—remember the man who lent his donkey for Jesus’ use in Matthew 21?

I’m no master of social petworking, but here are some dos and don’ts I have collected by observation:



Do greet people who are on a leisurely walk with their dog. Don’t try to connect with people who are running with their dog.
Do compliment the other person’s dog on its grooming, breed, or friendliness. Don’t offer advice the pet-owner has not asked for on pet maintenance.
Do ask what breed the dog is if it is not obvious. Don’t show ignorance by asking about the breed of a dog when it is obviously a poodle, dachshund, beagle, or other highly recognizable breed.
Do let small children pet your dog if the dog likes children and the children seem to want to pet it. Don’t invite children who look frightened to pet your dog.  Move on down the park.
Do follow up on invitations to breed your pet. Don’t offer your own dog for breeding.  If the person admires your animal, they’ll mention it.
Do move from conversation about the dog to questions about the dog’s owner. Don’t assume you know about the owner because you’ve observed the dog.
Do offer your business card to a person you’ve made a good connection with. Don’t withhold your insurance data from someone your pet has bitten.
Do follow up the petworking encounter with an email and invitation to coffee, if you think you may have something to offer the person you’ve petworked. Don’t continue talking about your dog if someone says they don’t have a dog and don’t want a dog.  It insults dogs and irritates anti-caninites.

I hope you enjoyed this playful, almost dog-like chuckle piece.  It is written with tail wagging, but with tongue in cheek.

For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Pre-order it in paperback or Kindle editions at

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at


[1]Photo of television screen credited to Chris Edwardson, M.D. and used with permission.

How to Enter the Kingdom Net

In order for a kingdom to exist in reality, it needs three things: (1) a monarch—whether king or queen, (2) the will or rule of the monarch, and (3) people who accept and submit to the monarch’s rule.  A kingdom can exist in exile (without territory) as long as people will serve the king or queen.


The “Kingdom of France” presents an interesting modern example.  According to some observers, France has a “rightful” king, namely Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoléon, a.k.a. Jean Christophe Louis Ferdinand Albéric Napoléon (born 1986).  The great-great-great-grandnephew of Emperor Napoleon I of France, he also has Bourbon blood (think Louis XV) on the distaff side of his genealogy.


Prince Johnny-Chris has it all.  He’s got royal blood, a considerable personal fortune, and a killer career as an investment banker.  A smart, good-looking fellow, he undoubtedly has many admirers.  His kingdom has a king, to wit, himself.  He has a will and could no doubt summon up element two, namely, rule.  Nonetheless, he lacks a kingdom, as there are not enough people submitted to his rule to activate his kingdom.  He might turn out to be the worthiest, wisest, and best man ever to stand in the line of succession.  Who knows.  Whatever.  But he remains le roi de rien, the king of nothing.  For want of willing subjects, the “Kingdom of France” in fact does not exist.  It reminds one of the old adage,


For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.


The Kingdom of God requires the same three essentials as any other kingdom.  It has a King, none other than Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Immanuel.  Jesus in fact has a will and rules over the universe in majesty and splendor.  The Kingdom of God becomes living and active when people submit to the rule of Jesus.  As Jesus began his active ministry, he came declaring that the Kingdom of God was advancing forcefully, and people—even tax collectors and sinners–were entering it vigorously.  And so it continues to this day.


To enter the Kingdom—and become part of the Kingdom Net—we need do nothing more (and nothing less) than submit ourselves to the Rule of God in Christ.  When we do submit to the Rule–making God’s Will our own, obeying Jesus in everything–we activate and realize the Kingdom in our lives.  We become part of the worldwide web of people who follow Christ—what I call the Kingdom Net.  We make up the very net that God casts into the world to fish for men and women.  For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Pre-order it in paperback or Kindle editions at



Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at

Three Disciplines for Network Maintenance

Networking always offers surprises and new opportunities for learning.  This week I launched my book, The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus, at a national church conference, where I also attended an alumni meeting for my undergraduate alma mater.  Right away as I walked into the meeting, Danny Duvall—one of my era’s football heroes and a first-rate student and preacher—stepped up and greeted me.  Danny has had a great career as an evangelist and pastor, and I felt pleased that he immediately knew me and had kept up with my career trajectory.  As students, we ran in different circles and probably never had even two or three conversations despite taking a few classes together.  But we immediately re-connected as friends, 30 years after graduating from college.

After teasing me about setting the curve on Greek exams too often as a student, Danny asked me if I had discussed Paul’s use of the word katartizo in the book.  He referenced Ephesians 4:12 where it says God has given the church apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists “to equip the saints for the work of ministry.”  Danny explained to me that katartizo refers to the “mending of nets” and that Matthew 4:21 uses it to describe James and John mending their fishing nets.  I had to confess that this little pearl from the Greek had escaped my attention (and Danny must have noticed that he had just aced the real-life Greek test I had flunked!)  Very nerdly of me.

The translation “equipping the saints” suffices nicely to convey the meaning of Ephesians 4:12, but by not looking at the fishy connotation of the Greek original, I lost the “net” work connection.   Katartizo means “to complete thoroughly, i.e. repair (lit. or fig.) or adjust:—fit, frame, mend, (make) perfect, [perfectly] join together, prepare, [or] restore.”[1]  Galatians 6:1 uses it to exhort us to restore Christians who have fallen into sin.

Just like Christ calls the “executive officers” of the church to katartize the Church, he calls people in any field of work to serve as menders and equippers of the Kingdom Net.  As we “perfect,” “complete,” “mend,” “weave,” “fit,” and “restore” our networks, we keep the conduits of the Kingdom open.  We keep God’s fishing net ready for the water, ready for a catch.

The work of fishers mending their nets provides a powerful metaphor for network maintenance.  As Danny pointed out to me, the main tasks of net maintenance after a day’s fishing include:

(1) cleaning,

(2) mending, and

(3) folding

Cleaning removes weeds, sticks, bones, rocks and other garbage from the nets.  Mending repairs the torn places, so valuable fish will not escape from the net.  Folding prepares the nets for easy deployment on the next fishing session.  Wise Kingdom workers will develop the same disciplines for maintaining their networks.  The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus offers detailed advice for network maintenance.


Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at


[1] Strong, J. (2009). Vol. 1: A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (40). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Networking: A New Word for an Ancient Concept (TKN Audio Bonus)

The word “network” hasn’t always existed in English and doesn’t appear in any translation of the Bible.  According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, the word first began to appear in 1557 to refer to “net-like arrangement of threads, wires, etc.”  By 1839 the use  extended to “any complex, interlocking system”  referring to “transport by rivers, canals, and railways.”  The concept began to apply to “a broadcasting system of multiple transmitters” in 1914 and to an “interconnected grojp of people” in 1947.  The use of “network” as a verb relating to computers dates from 1972, and it  first occurred in the context of networking among people in the 1980s.[1]

Even though the words “network” and “networking” are relatively new, the concept goes back as far a society itself.  Every unit of society from the family to the multinational corporation requires people to network in order to build social systems.  Every government on earth has always organized itself in people networks, even if most languages have no specialized word to describe it.

The Kingdom of God does not differ. The Rule of God becomes visible among us by the creation of people webs.  Certainly, it begins in the heart of individual people who discover God’s Kingly Will for their lives, but as they act it out, networks get engaged and the Kingdom spreads on those networks.

I recently enjoyed the intersection of two senses of the word network when my people network tied into a radio network.  I recently spoke about The Kingdom Net at a pastors luncheon to prepare for MissionFest Seattle in October.[2]  At that meeting, I got to know Stan Lander from Salem Communications, which operates a network of about 100 radio stations.  Stan connected with my assistant Anne Kuchera and booked me for two radio interviews.  The Kingdom Net works!

In the first interview, I discussed my book Your Deepest Dream, Discovering God’s True Vision for Your Life with Doug Bursch.  Here’s a link to that interview, which begins at minute 13:00.  Enjoy!

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at



TKN Audio: What about the Emerging Church?

In Part 4 of my conversation with Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, conducted 7 years ago at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, we turn our discussion to the so-called “emerging church.”

One of the most important ways the church is “emerging” in our time is the growth of the Faith and Work Movement.  In The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus, I spend considerable time discussing the different ways we see the church manifesting itself in and around workplace settings.  For example, my friend Craig Campbell, of CampbellNelson Volkswagen and Nissan in Edmonds, Washington, ( employs a full-time chaplain at his business to pastor his employees–whether they are Christians or not.  Another friend, Pete Hartwig works with a team of friends in Charlottesville, Virginia.  They call their weekly breakfast meeting the Charlottesville Faith and Leadership Forum and their aim is to provide a safe place to discuss the synergy between faith, life and work.  The meeting is relationally driven and focuses on sharing faith and enhancing the attendees’ performance in their leadership roles.  They also conduct a similar luncheon for women, and are beginning a new group called First Fridays, in which business leaders take turns talking about their integration of faith and work.  In Seattle, I am part of a ministry called C-3 Leaders, which gathers hundreds of Christian business leaders in small groups all over the city to share their experiences of following Jesus in the world of business.

People often say that America needs a revival.  In reality, the churches of America need revival.   America itself needs another Great Awakening, in which people who are currently unchurched turn their hearts to Jesus.  The more Christians around the country work the Kingdom Net in and around the workplace, the more likely an awakening can occur.

To listen to the final installment of my talk with Dr. K, click below

The Kingdom Net is now available for pre-order from  To get your copy, order it at:



TKN Audio: What Makes the Invisible Church Palpable?

In Part Three of my conversation with Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, we consider the difference between the visible church and the Invisible Church.  This conversation lies behind much of what I wrote in one of the chapters in The Kingdom Net.  The discussion begins with a consideration of what constitutes a sacrament and what makes other things sacramental in nature, then turns to the question of making the church visible.

Thinking beyond that conversation, marketing the church has become a matter of debate in recent years.  Some Christians object to using  techniques from the business world to “market” the ministry of the church;  on the other hand, the worst offenders  seem to reduce evangelism to nothing more than slick and even deceptive marketing.   Jesus clearly teaches us not to put our lamp under a bowl, declaring that we should shine like a city set on a hill  (Matthew 5:14-16)  There can’t be anything wrong with making the church more visible through some form of “marketing.”

Perhaps the best way we can “market” the church–the best way we can make the true church visible–is to live sacramentally, letting the Spirit of God display the promises of God through outward displays of inward graces.  When people can see God at work, they Church shines in limelight no marketing campaign can replace.   It remains our job to let people know that God has arrived on the scene–the Kingdom of God has drawn near.

I hope you’ll enjoy our conversation!

TKN Audio: The Importance of Being “Catholic”

According to the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D., the true Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.[1]   These characteristics of the church are known as “the marks of the Church.”  In The Kingdom Net, I report on my conversation with eminent theologian Dr. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen in which we walk through what it means for the Church to display those marks.  In the following audio segment, “Dr. K.” explains the importance of being “catholic” for every church.  After listening, weigh in with your opinion in the comments section of the blog.  Is your church catholic?  Listen and find out why it ought to be, no matter what name it bears.