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What Is Your Kingdom Footprint


Regardless of how noble protecting the earth may be, caring for the people of the world is the Church's undisputed responsibility...


What Is Your Kingdom Footprint?

by Danny Gasperson


Former Vice President and recent Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore has spent years urging people to consider their carbon footprint to help save the planet from global warming. The purpose of this article is not to debate the validity of his claims or the importance of his cause.

Instead, I challenge individual Christians and churches alike to contemplate another kind of footprint with undeniable validity and unequaled importance—a kingdom footprint.

Regardless of how noble protecting the earth may be, caring for people of the world so loved by God that He was willing to give His only Son to rescue them is the Church’s undisputed responsibility.

While a carbon footprint measures the negative impact a person has on the earth’s environment, a kingdom footprint describes the positive influence we make on this world for the Kingdom of God. Unlike Mr. Gore, my plea is not to reduce but to enlarge our footprint, making the greatest possible impact.


Big Feet

How can we enlarge our kingdom footprint? The first and most obvious way is to grow the local church. As the body grows, the feet expand proportionally. By reaching family, friends, and neighbors in our community with the gospel and bringing them into our church fellowship, we enlarge our kingdom footprint.

We must be diligent to obey the Lord’s command to “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). Most of us understand this mandate from God and devote time, energy, and resources to fulfill this responsibility.

However, I want to encourage churches to consider another way to measure their kingdom footprint. You see, many churches measure their kingdom footprint by the size of their congregation. I humbly suggest that the biblical definition of a small church is one whose kingdom footprint is no bigger than the size of her attendance, no matter how many gather to worship there on a given week.


What Is Your Kingdom Footprint

This means, when it comes to the local church, it is biblically fashionable to have disproportionately large feet. Acts 1:8 makes it clear that our obligation to the world extends beyond the confines of our neighborhoods. No matter how quickly and effectively we impact the world through community outreach, we will never satisfy our global responsibility if we rely solely upon local church growth.

The Bible makes it clear that we can increase our kingdom footprint by partnering with others through prayer, provision, and participation as they labor to build the Kingdom of God in other parts of the globe. The Apostle Paul went to great lengths to convince New Testament churches they were essential partners in his ministry because they prayed for him, provided for his needs, and participated in his efforts. This can be true of every church, no matter the size of the congregation.


A Personal Example

I pastor Zephyr Hills Free Will Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina. It would not be considered a large church based on our weekly attendance. Please understand that acknowledging this truth does not mean we are content with it. We are passionate and committed to winning souls to Christ. Nothing would please us more than to see our numbers grow exponentially. We hope for it, pray for it, work for it, and believe it will happen. Church growth would obviously enlarge our kingdom footprint.

At the same time, looks can be deceiving. As God reminded Samuel, God does not see as man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance. God looks at the heart (or in this case, the feet). Zephyr Hills is bigger than she seems. We have discovered ways to expand our kingdom footprint beyond our attendance. We are informed, invested, and involved in what God is doing in the world. Missions is not just one of the many things we do. It is who we are. It is part of our spiritual DNA. Our journey has only begun, and we have plenty of room for improvement.

Still, our feet are growing and the cry of our heart is for “bigger shoes.” We have defined our God-given roles as involvement, incubation, and inspiration.



We do everything we can personally to advance God’s Kingdom to the ends of the earth. Our involvement strategy is three-fold; to pray, to provide, and to participate.
Prayer for kingdom growth occurs regularly at Zephyr Hills. Jesus said He would build His Church or expand His Kingdom. It is imperative that we plead for His help. During each Sunday afternoon service, we focus on “Missions Moments.” The church missions coordinator uses IMpulse, the prayer hotline, and letters from missionaries around the world to share stories, updates, or prayer requests from the field.

For the past five years we have hosted a regional Prayer Summit for World Missions. We invite missionaries, International Missions staff members, and other churches to gather for a weekend of inspiration, instruction, and prayer. Together, we pray faithfully, fervently, and even forcefully for missions. The annual event has become the highlight of the year. We have discovered that we are never closer to God than when our hearts beat in tune with His greatest passion—reconciling a lost world to Christ. In addition, the event has enabled us to build deep personal relationships with missionaries whom we treasure.

We help provide for His work by participating in the World Mission Offering each year. We devote the entire month of April to emphasizing global outreach and designate the last Sunday as World Missions Day. We have come to understand that all of God’s blessings have a purpose. The purpose is not our own amusement but kingdom advancement. We give generously and gratefully to support that cause.

Zephyr Hills also has the privilege of being Strategic Ministry Partners with Josh and Alicia Crowe, missionaries serving in Japan. The relationship we have established with them reminds us that we are not just giving to a fund. We are enabling God’s faithful servants to carry the gospel to the unreached places of the world. We may not have the resources to do what others can do, but we believe God will use our “widow’s mite” for His glory.

We are constantly amazed by the way God provides supernaturally and unexpectedly to enable us to give. And it has been incredible to discover that providing for kingdom growth has never created unmet needs in local ministry. It really is true that we can never outgive God!

We participate in kingdom expansion personally. Approximately 20% of our congregation has experienced the joy of a short-term mission trip. Our church has sent teams to Mexico, Kazakhstan, Haiti, and Panama. Our young people have been to Kazakhstan, Japan, and Cuba with E-TEAM or CMP. Our church families host numerous missionaries who have been honored guests in our church. The rich relationships we have built over the years make it so much easier to pray and give.

We trust that prayer, provision, and participation have increased the size of our kingdom footprint, and we know that the effect on our church is undeniable. The emphasis on global outreach has intensified our passion for local outreach.



We also feel called to incubation. It is our desire to become a missionary “maternity ward.” We want to create such a global kingdom environment within our church that God will entrust to us those whom He has chosen to serve cross-culturally. Every person who comes to our church is exposed to, educated in, and encouraged to seriously consider his or her specific call from God to a kingdom purpose.

We are doing everything we can to rear a generation of kingdom-minded children who believe missions involvement is a normal part of discipleship. It thrills my heart to hear the kids in our church say, “When I am a missionary, I want to go to …” In their minds, it’s not if but when. We realize it may not be God’s plan for all of them to serve as full-time missionaries, but we want God to have to convince them to stay rather than go.



Finally, we believe we have a responsibility to inspire—to encourage our missionaries. At Zephyr Hills, missionaries are regarded as heroes. We count it a great honor to host them. We want our church to be a place they find refreshment and revival. We want to cultivate deep personal relationships with them, listen carefully to their stories, celebrate their victories, and share their burdens.

We also want to inspire sister churches by sharing the joys and blessings we have discovered while expanding our kingdom footprint. We want to encourage them to join us in our quest for bigger feet. I understand their fear that unusually large feet will only slow them down. I especially sympathize with the reservations a small church might experience, because we struggled with that concern as well. But we have found that large feet provide an unusually firm foundation.

Enlarging our footprint has not crippled our local efforts to expand the kingdom but enhanced them. The Great Commission was not delivered to a select few. The responsibility to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth belongs to every individual, every family, and every church.

Our enemy has effectively crippled the Body of Christ with ecclesiastical foot binding. Some might argue that smaller, proportional feet are more attractive. But our Lord has a radically different opinion. He says, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:15).

As you consider the size of your kingdom footprint, it is my prayer that the Lord gives us all extraordinarily big, beautiful feet!


About the Writer: Danny Gasperson pastors Zephyr Hills Free Will Baptist Church in Asheville, NC. To learn more about Free Will Baptist missions work around the world, visit


©2011 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists