Thursday, December 03, 2009

Love God. Go Love People.

Love God. Go Love People.

Many churches have taken Jesus' two great commandments to be their church's vision. We want to be a church that loves God with everything we have and a church that loves others as ourselves.

Too many churches today are known for the number of people who go to their church and for their church's distinctives, but we want to be known for our love. For years, the Littleton Church of Christ has been known as a place where anyone is welcome. No matter your history or the mess you find yourself in, Littleton is a place where you can find acceptance and help to get your life back on track. Often, that has looked like accepting divorced people before other Churches of Christ were ready to do so, but in the coming years it will mean finding our pews filled with couples that live together, people of different social backgrounds, and homosexual couples.

I know, I know...How could a faithful church find such people in their pews? Because Jesus found tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners as followers around his table. And like Jesus, we don't invite these people to continue their broken lives. We invite these people to join with us (fellow broken people) to find ourselves again in the Jesus story. We invite them with us on the journey because we can't think of a more hypocritical way of life than to define our brokenness as more socially appropriate and less serious than "those" kind of people.

But more than anything, we join other broken people on this journey because we know that God wants to bring healing in all of our lives. So...we'll love God and love people.

But there's another word in our vision statement that can't be missed. GO!!! The call of the church doesn't stop with loving God and loving people. We can do that in the safe confines of our church building. We also believe the Great Commission calls us to leave the doors of our building each week and find ourselves again on God's mission in the world.

This charge is intended to be a short statement to describe what we are called to do every time we leave our doors. In fact, every week at the benediction, I end our service with this phrase (Love God. Go Love People). It's a reminder that we are called to live our the Great Commandments and the Great Commission in all that we do. While this statement, if taken seriously, would change the future of our church in major ways, these are two of Jesus' most fundamental messages. We want to be identified by our love more than any other distinctive we might want to hold up.


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