Review of ‘The Kingdom Net’ by Joseph Castleberry

The Kingdom Net Joseph Castleberry, The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus (Springfield, MO: My Healthy Church, 2013). Paperback / Kindle

The subtitle of The Kingdom Net—“learning to network like Jesus”—might mislead you into thinking that this is yet another business book misappropriating Jesus’ life and teachings to help you advance your career. It isn’t. Or rather, to the extent that it helps you advance your career, The Kingdom Net does so by redefining your career in terms of the kingdom of God and his missionary purposes for humanity. Whether you’re a Bible-quoting evangelist or a business-minded entrepreneur, this redefinition ensures that you’re investing your time, treasure, and talents in worthy projects.

Joseph Castleberry is president of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. In the course of his career, he has served in a variety of roles, including pastor, missionary, community development entrepreneur, and educator—all of which require competence in social networking as part of their respective skillsets.

Drawing on his rich and varied life experiences, he sketches a vision of kingdom networking that combines equal parts theological reflection, biblical example, and practical advice. You’ll learn about the kingdom of God, missio dei, the mission of humanity, and the mission of the church. You’ll also learn how to meet people, maintain contacts, drop names appropriately, and write thank you notes. And, as the book’s subtitle suggests, you’ll also learn from the New Testament how Jesus used social networking to advance the kingdom of God. (And Paul too!)

Indeed, Castleberry writes, “The kingdom of God is a network.” This network has a primary purpose of enfolding flesh-and-blood people into the life and purposes of God. Consequently, Castleberry concludes, “The growth of the kingdom is the growth of God’s people net.” In God’s kingdom—and there alone—humanity truly flourishes.

As a minister, I highly recommend this valuable book to my fellow clergy. However, I also think it’s a good gift for graduates as they commence their careers. Finally, I’d recommend it to business people who want to lead significant lives, not merely successful ones.

Full disclosure: I am a personal friend and occasional student of Joe Castleberry. Additionally, I work for the Assemblies of God, which is the parent company of My Healthy Church, but not for MHC.

P.S. If you found this review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my review page.


The World Wide (Religious) Web for Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Best. Conspiracy. Ever.

Make sure to watch it all the way through. And read the credits; they’re hilarious.


“Egypt in crisis talks after Muslim mobs attack Christian churches” or “12 dead in Egypt as Christians and Muslims clash”? tries to sort out the facts.


Is a bad marriage better than a good divorce? “Social scientists are concealing the harm that divorce, single parenting and stepfamilies do to children. Not only that, they are also hiding the benefits which even unhappy marriages bestow, not just on children, but on the couples involved.”


Is a national curriculum a good idea? “National control over curriculum creates a single lever you can pull to move every school in America. Would conservatives trust progressives, and would progressives trust conservatives, not to try to seize control of that lever to inculcate their religious and moral views among the nation’s youth? And if you don’t trust the other side not to try to seize the lever, is there any reasonable alternative to trying to seize it first?”


In “Europe’s Concerned, Worried, and Doubting,” David Mills reflects on the differences between European and American reactions to the death of Osama bin Laden.


California college adds major in secularism. Of course, on many college campuses today, students get a minor in it already, though without knowing it.


“How Christianity and capitalism can ‘heal’ the world.” An interesting article about “social investing.” Theologically, however, I’d prefer to delete –ity and capitalism from the title.


“LGBT ‘Welcome’ Ad Rejected by Sojourners, Nation’s Premier Progressive Christian Org.” I’m on the opposite side of the issues from Rev. Robert Chase, but I too wonder how a Christian magazine can avoid taking sides on this issue.


In “Judas,” Lady Gaga goes clubbing with Jesus, who’s a Latin biker, and… Oh, who cares! There’s no “shock value” in this video, only “shlock value.”


In closing, and a bit more reverentially, Carrie Underwood and Vince Gil shine on this country rendition of “How Great Thou Art”:

I totally want to go to whatever church these two provide “special music” for.


 P.S. Shameless self-promotion: Check out my article in Enrichment: “Up There, Down Here, Among Us, In Me.” It’s about praying for God’s kingdom.

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