To be a life-giving church that loves God, loves people and impacts lives for Jesus.
Loving God, loving people
In this vision statement you can hear the Great Commandment resound. Jesus said: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt.22:37-39 NLT).
This should be key in the vision of ANY church. Interesting thing is that Jesus here quotes the Old Testament (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18). Just to prove to you that the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament.
Impacting lives for Jesus
So, loving God and loving people is key… but that’s not where it stops! God is calling people to repent of their sins and turn to him. In Isaiah 55:7 (NLT) God says: “Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.” God will forgive, if we repent of our evil ways and turn to Him! God’s love is what ultimately transforms people’s lives for the better. We see it time after time!
So as believers who choose to makeour spiritual home, our goal is to impact people’s lives for Jesus Christ. We can only do that if we are genuinely concerned about their lives. Loving people and starting true friendships with them is often the first step for them to experience God’s transforming love. Having a relationship with someone is necessary if we want to speak into people’s lives and challenge them to change their ways and turn to God. God poured out His love when His Son Jesus Christ died on the cross so that our lives could be transformed.
So what about that term “life-giving church”? Does the church really give life? Yes and no. No, the organizational side of the church does not give life. We need it, though, to make sure everything happens that needs to happen in order to make church happen on Sundays and during the week. But the church is also an organism. Paul calls it the body of Christ. So in that sense, you would expect the church to have life flowing through it.
Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 NASB). The Body of Christ, which is the church, consists of individual believers who all have access to Jesus Christ who is the Giver of abundant life. So when the members of the church each experience that abundant life, the church as a whole will also have that abundant life flowing through itself. Why? Because the church is a collection of people who experience that abundant life.
That abundant life is life a fountain or a river. Or maybe a geyser is an even better picture. There is no way you can keep it to yourself. Jesus not only said that He came to give abundant life to just the people following Him.
At the end of a religious festival in Jerusalem He cried out: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38 NASB). That abundant life in us is so abundant that it will become a fountain flowing from our lives to everyone around us.The same is true for the church as a collection of Christ-followers who experience that abundant life.
So what does a life-giving church look like? I believe it is characterized by laughter, joy and excitement, by healthy relationships, by a strong desire to reach out to the lost around us, and by a blazing passion for God. A life-giving church is the kind of place where people actually like to come and hang out with others. And even people are not yet following Christ love it!
Will you help us build that life-giving church that loves God, loves people and impacts lives for Jesus?