I will admit that I was originally skeptical when Ken Hemphill was tapped to succeed Russell Dilday as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Perhaps it was my distrust of the way that Dilday was disposed of. It took some time for me to get over political issues and give Hemphill a chance, but I was surprised to learn that his heart was beating in much the same realm as mine. That led me to finally purchase and read this book.
EKG (Empowered Kingdom Growth) is the desire to live in the Kingdom of God and develop as a Kingdom citizen. The book does not hit home runs throughout, but it does strike a resounding chord. The most engaging portion of the book is the commentary put forth for the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Hemphill makes the Beatitudes come to life, the salt/light and law passages begin to vibrate, and then he whets our appetite for prayer with a glance at the model prayer. What is distracting is that this major portion of the book doesn’t even start until you have waded through half the pages. Many, I’m afraid, won’t stick with him to get to these nuggets of gold to be mined.
The thrust of the book is to challenge people to ask some poignant questions:
- Am I a Kingdom person?
- Are we a Kingdom church?
- Do you want to be?
These questions are useful for every Christ-follower to ask. The answer to the third may influence the way that we address the first two—how do I/we become one?
If you are looking for a feel-good book to help you bolster your current way of life, skip this one. If you want to read something that will challenge your theology, look elsewhere. If you are looking for a resource to help build Kingdom-mindedness into your life and your church, then this is a good place to start.