Take an interest in others, too.
I believe in the church. Just as you believe something is the right tool for the job. Like those in construction believe the foundation goes in first, then the walls, then the roof. Without one of those, you can’t have a house. I believe the church is part of the right order for God’s kingdom to advance on earth. The church is the tool Jesus gave for those who follow him to live out his great teaching and carry his good news to everyone near and far from God. And when the church is operating well, God uses it to transform lives, even those at their wits end.
A passage in the Bible highlights one of the actions the church takes that leads it to impact others. Check out Philippians 2:4.
Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. (NLT)
Take an interest in others, too.
When a church takes an interest in others, God’s attitude flows within it and that attitude carries over to others. I’ve been impacted by two examples of that this week.
Last Sunday I visited Providence UMC just outside of Nashville, TN. It is less than 10 years old and has become the 4th fastest growing Methodist church over the last five years. Folks get to experience God’s love and receive the do-over that Jesus offers. I love to learn from churches that know what they’re doing. So, as I planned my trip to Kentucky for seminary class this week, I sent a message to Pastor Jacob Armstrong letting him know I’d be passing through and that I hoped to stop by to attend. He shortly wrote back and had arranged time for me to visit with him, their discipleship, outreach, youth, children, operation, and communication leaders. He took an interest in the work God is doing with reFresh Church in Priceville and turned my stop-by visit into a day for me to learn from some of the best new church leaders in our movement. I learned so much and was so encouraged by their authentic ministry. That’s why I believe in the church. We’re all on the same team. Take an interest in others, too.
On Monday night I had dinner with my friend and seminary classmate Steve. He currently pastors three churches in Illinois—yes, that’s preaching back-to-back-to-back each Sunday. Steve shared how God began a movement in him when a juvenile correction facility called him last summer asking for supplies after a regional flood. As Steve was delivering the carload of supplies his churches donated, God’s Spirit nudged him to make plans to return. He began to teach and just build relationships with those boys. The first week, two came. As Steve continued to return, each week for over four months now, more boys attended and lives have been changed. 8 of those boys aged 13-20 have professed faith in Jesus! Now about half of the 40 who are housed in the facility attend each week. That’s why I believe in the church. We go wherever people are to share God’s love. Take an interest in others, too.
Who do you wish would take an interest in you?
Could you make a difference by taking an interest in someone?
reFresh Church…taking an interest in others, too
I dream that reFresh Church takes an interest in others. People ask, ‘what kind of church is reFresh’? I want us to "lead with love”. Most who decide not to attend church either do not trust its leaders or feel judged for how they dress or things done in the past. As we discover more about Jesus, he showed an interest in real people with real stories. He met them at their physical and spiritual needs, then he shared love. He took an interest, well before they ever straighten out their life, and built friendships. For those who decided to follow him, his power changed them to be more and more about what God created them to be—often in very radical ways. I believe God wants to do that through reFresh Church. Our goal is to inspire new and fully devoted followers of Jesus who refresh others with God's love!
We lead with love simply by asking how a church might be helpful. By giving candy to kids and chocolate to moms at the parade. By giving small gifts to Priceville area store staff working on New Year’s Eve. And by giving donuts to Priceville school teachers who positively influence so many kids and yet have real lives, real worries, and real stories of their own. To each one we simply take an interest and say, “God loves you, no strings attached”!
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