At KeyStone Church we are wrestling with some explicit language, like…Love, Discipleship, Multiplication, Community, Connection.
Some of these words have become the latest and greatest buzz words that we like to flash across our web sites: GET CONNECTED HERE, or FIND THE DISCIPLESHIP COURSE HERE…you get the point.
But these are more than the hot topics of the day. These words mean something, they came from our Master, and He wasn’t just kidding around when he wanted us to DO them.
Over the next few posts I’d like to explore these explicit words, some of which we have never learned their true meaning.
I figured the best place to start is with the New Commandment. Love One Another. Across the nation there is backstabbing, gossip, hate, and un-forgiveness running rampant in our churches. It’s no wonder why the world doesn’t want anything to do with us, kinda freaks me out and I’ve been in church as long as I an remember. I heard a stat the other day, probably from Barna, that 96% of church growth is transfer growth! What the…explicit word..? Seriously? My city boasts some of the greatest mission organizations in the world, along with some of the largest churches, however 80% of our city is un-churched! I’m not even talking about the walking wounded, I’m saying that 80% of the people where I live don’t have any community of believers, no fellowship with Jesus, and have no desire to seek it out.
What IF? This is a question that we love to raise in our Team Meetings. What IF church looked like…What IF we tried…What IF the church… just simply loved one another? Jesus said, “They [the world] will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.” In light of the prior stats, this can only mean a couple of things…
1. We aren’t real disciples
2. We don’t really know how to love
3. We’ve never been taught real love and discipleship
I met with a prominent pastor here in town a few months ago, he said something that shook me. “You know, when I first came here to pastor, our enemies were the witches and warlocks. Now our enemies are the religious.” He continued, “We’ve become really good at making people say prayers, and then teaching them our language, and our ideology, but we’ve done a poor job of making disciples.”
What IF we could just learn to love one another? I mean, like Jesus loved his guys? I am taking our church on a journey through the book of John. It’s amazing to build chapter upon chapter about Jesus rather than trying to come up with the hottest topical message of the season. In doing so, we have learned how much Jesus really loved his guys; the time he spent with them was over half of his earthly ministry. In chapter 14, you can feel the compassion that is oozing from his heart for them. Loving one another makes us attractive. We don’t have to water down the Message, it’s sweet just as it is. But what makes us attractive to the world is our love for one another!
I like to hang out with my guys. We are growing so the number keeps increasing, and it gets a little more challenging for all of us to meet every week. But I LOVE it. This is something we have lost as pastors, we spend all our time in meetings, or sermon prep, or in the business of church. I know these things are necessary, but it’s not the most important thing! We have lost our first love, our love for one another. This is the New Commandment.
I am a pretty simple guy. I figured if we were going to plant a church, let’s just start with the basic model, Acts 2:42. Then I figured our best evangelistic tool wouldn’t be another 9 week class on a Wednesday night, but rather John 13:35. Yeah, just love one another, then the world will know you are mine. You won’t have to shout it, or make an idiot of yourself, just love. I don’t know, seems pretty simple to me.