i asked my boss… what are we going to talk about in our meeting?
he said… it’s a teaching meeting.
so i wondered what in the world that could mean for the next few hours…
then i went to the meeting…
we were told to leave our phones outside, not try to check-in, but really focus on what we were about to hear.
Then our pastor, David Landrith asked a room full of pastors and ministers to write down how we would share the truth of Jesus Christ in 5 words.
So many cool observations from this experience:
1 – some of us started with sin, some of us started with God. hmmm
2 – all of us agree on a single truth
3 – we have a single common goal
4 – we have a pastor that gets how important solidarity is.
5 – jeff Lovingood loves kids, students, people, and wants them to know the God of the Universe.
So… my team had this list: SIN, LOVE, CROSS, CONFESS, ETERNITY
In paragraph form:
When we are going to someone about their need for a Savior, we start with identifying that yes, we all SIN (have you ever met a 2 year old that you had to teach selfishness, too?; have you ever been unkind to your sibling? have you ever disobeyed your parent? have you ever lied? cheated?) … me too. The thing is we are sinners, but God is perfect, and he can’t have sinners in his perfect heaven… so he sent Jesus. God LOVED us so much that he sent his son to live a perfect life, then die on the CROSS, conquer death when he was raised from the dead. If we CONFESS our sin, and CONFESS that we believe that this is true… He took our place so that we may have ETERNITY in heaven.
we felt good about this order… and then Jeff shared their list. They started with God. Dang, why didn’t we think of that?
he made the point that we should start with God’s love.
this was particularly convicting to me, because i have been thinking, praying, obsessing on the idea of LOVE. for 2 years… why didn’t i start with that?
i know why… it’s because when i’m talking to kids about salvation, it usually starts with identifying that we are not perfect. it’s actually a rhetorical question, because i already know the answer… but until you realize you aren’t perfect, you won’t realize a need for a solution to this problem. perfect God… imperfect us. the thing is, most of the kids i’m talking to already know about God’s love… and they know that i already love them… so it’s a foregone conclusion and i presume the love knowledge exists. that being said: i do think you can start with our imperfection when talking to people that you already love and that already know about God’s love for them. HOWEVER…
Generally speaking, you can’t presume that people know about God’s great love for them. So many people don’t even have a father on earth that loves them, so a heavenly father that loves them is a far away concept that they haven’t even thought of considering…
also… believing in Jesus is not just about escaping hell. it’s about living abundantly. the Christian life is filled with great things, let me list a few:
Peace that passes your ability to understand
Supernatural access to the power of God
Prayer. a conversation with someone that loves you enough to die for you.
Church. a group of likeminded people that are required to love you.
Promise. of a future. of a hope. of his blessing and hope.
… btw… all of the things that people think of as “NO NO’s” are things that don’t actually add to life, no matter who you are. Consider the 10 commandments. Even if you don’t care about what God wants, you have to agree that life is better in general without: lying, adultery, idol worship, cheating, cursing God, skipping a rest (sabbath), murder and stealing. The Christian life is a richer, better life, regardless of the eternal implications.
Add to that… the promise of a home waiting for you after your death on earth where there is no sadness or mourning… PLEASE. WHO WOULDN’T WANT THAT?
POINT TAKEN. START WITH THE LOVE.
you see, at long hollow, we unapologetically share our beliefs. we spend the whole year telling, teaching, singing, planting seeds. every single thing we do starts with one thing: showing people how to get to the God that loves them.
when summer time comes, we expect a harvest. we expect to see people stepping away from the chaos and into the peace of Christ. we expect that our weekly efforts to share truth will culminate in an environment for people to accept the forgiveness of the man who died to save them.
this is why our pastor wanted to make sure we knew how to share. and that we would start with love. as our year is about loving people, our summer is actively about taking people from understanding the LOVE of God to the separation that sin creates from God… then the substitution of Jesus in our place, when he lived a perfect life so that he would be a worthy sacrifice… when we believe that we have the promise of Heaven.
he implored us to use examples and illustrations to help people understand. he told us to follow the plan. he set before us a method for sharing succinctly, clearly, and with a life-giving message.
What did you do in your staff meeting today?