This last week, I had this super epiphany of what my church is!
It has taken me awhile to understand exactly the kind of church I’m going to. Honestly, I still don’t understand it completely, but I’m encouraged by it daily.
It’s an upside down church. We are not measured by the number of our Sunday attendance. In fact, there is nothing glamorous about it. New comers are never wowed because of it. If anything they think it’s kind of weird.
Our Sunday service is in our pastor’s house because we don’t want our tithes to go to our mortgage, but rather to our community.
If anything, our new comers are wowed by what we do. We have life groups that meet throughout the week, we serve and build relationships.
Our church is based on three things. Three things Jesus commands us to do.
Did you know, throughout the whole New Testament Jesus tells us only to do three things?
I’m serious. Go check it out.
He commands us to love God and love others (Mark 12:30-31), and to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19).
That’s it. That’s all. It’s that easy.
No hoops to jump through. No boxes to check off. No T’s that need crossing or I’s that need doting.
Now, there are still things we do because Jesus did them, like baptisms and taking the Lord’s Supper, but other than that it’s pretty simple.
Our pastor is not responsible for our growth in Christ. It is our own responsibility. And then it is also our responsibility to go out and grow others; to disciple. It is not all up to him. It’s up to us.
So what is he responsible for?
Well, growing himself, and growing others, naturally. But he is also the one who empowers us to dare to step beyond our comfort zone.
He enables us with tools to love God and love others.
He keeps us out of the box when we start to cuddle back up inside of it. Often we slide back into the habits of the church traditions we were brought up in, and pushes us to examine what we are doing and why.
Usually, when you think of a pastor, most people generally like them for the most part, without any questions. You have a few preconceived notions of what he is like; holds himself to a higher standard, doesn’t cuss or swear, easy to talk to, compassionate.
While going to a church that breaks with tradition, why wouldn’t it’s pastor do the same?
Generally speaking, people either love or hate him. He’s okay with that. He doesn’t understand why people take him so serious or why people take what he does so personal.
So, the epiphany.
Our mission is to love God and love others and to go and make disciples. Exactly what I stated above.
The epiphany is the click. And I don’t even know if I can describe the click that happened inside my head, but it’s something about understanding how all three things work together.
If I love God and love others and I encourage others to do the same, not once, but over and over and over again; two things are happening.
One, I am growing closer to Christ by my obedience and two, I am discipling. The important part, the part where the click happened to me is in the doing it again and again and again.
I can love God and love others, all day long, everyday, every day of the year. That would allow me to grow closer to God, but it’s not discipling. Discipling is encouraging others to love with me.
Even if it’s different people each time. Even if someone doesn’t love with me next time, it is always and forever, encouraging others to love God and love others.
The fun part. The part I’m responsible for in my church is deciding how I’m going to love God and others and disciple.
Yes, it is an interact church. No spectators. No one sits on the bench. We’re all active players, playing on one team.
I love God by praising him, teaching my children about him, reading his word, praying, sharing my relationship with him to others.
I love others by making hats for a shelter in Flagstaff. I make sleeping mats for the homeless in the valley. I raise funds for pediatric cancer.
But I also love by helping friends organize their classrooms, and help move their houses and sit with them to have a drink at a coffee shop.
And I disciple by inviting my friends to Feed My Starving Children, and to donate to Harvest Compassion Center, and to join my life group and to help with Girls’ Club and…and…and… To love WITH me.
Because my church is about loving God and loving others and discipling. It’s about showing God love by obedience. It’s about loving others by serving and developing relationships. It’s about making disciples by encouraging others to live like Christ…which, here’s the kicker, IS loving God and loving others!
Isn’t that beautiful?
My dear Heavenly Father,
You ARE awesome!