Without a cultural shift in our view of the priority of relationships–intentional, available, authentic (real) and accountable–individuals and the church will never be what God intended–a visible demonstration of His grace.
With all the diversity, dysfunction, discomfort and the disease of sin in our own lives only God’s grace and the Holy Spirit can change relationships.
Our job is to create the environment where people can learn how to be the church–be a biblical community–a biblical spiritual family.
We must create an environment that not only speaks about loving God and loving people but where people have the time to do it.
We must create an environment were unloving responses are not tolerated and because of love they are addressed, confronted and corrected–always with the desire of deeper more meaningful more productive relationships.
When the world around us sees this–they will be attracted to authenticity, they will want to be involved. They will know us by our love not our vision or methodology or doctrine.
Our foundational value–the glory of God proclaimed among the nations–must be supported, empowered and sustained by a deep love for God and for people.
This love is not soft or blind, on the contrary it is passionate, active and deliberate.
It overcomes a multitude of sins–but it does not ignore the sinner. It won’t leave the sinner untouched.
This type of relationship loves so deeply that it will refuse to sacrifice relationships for expedience, for the appearance of unity, for programs or purpose.
But it will not be sidelined by those who will not change–who antagonistically refuse to engage in loving relationships whether for a lack of understanding, or unwillingness to be uncomfortable or a desire for power or prestige.
These loving relationships must be at the core of all that we do–from committees, to boards, to staff teams, to program leaders, to teachers, to helpers–from clean up crews to leaders.
Love is the more excellent way.
Love is the mark of identity.
Love is the greatest command.
Love will endure.
I must love God
I must love my wife
I must love my children
I must love my neighbor
I must love the brethren
I must love the lost
I must love my co-worker
I must love my enemy
I must love my antagonist
I must love the least
I must love the hard to love
I must love!
How can we glorify God if we don’t make loving relationships the priority of the church?
How do we make relationships a priority not just a hopeful byproduct?
How can we make biblical community part of the process not just the outcome?
How can we evaluate our progress except through relationships?
When will we know if we are on target?
Show it–live it
Talk about it–teach it
Expect it–sacrifice for it
Program for it–change for it