In this episode, I answered a listener question. Philippe asked, “How do you get the church to love those outside its walls like they love those inside its walls?”
I’m not sure that it is possible, nor that it should be the goal. I think there is Biblical evidence to support the idea that there is a kind of love that exists within the church that is different from love that extends down the street … a love that only exists within the body.
But, how do we keep the body from sitting and soaking in that love to the exclusion of those outside the walls.
Here’s a way to reframe Philippe’s original question: “How can we help our church to shift from an inward to an outward focus and love like Jesus wants us to love?”
There are 3 primary passages that, for me, define the church’s mission in the world:
1. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
2. The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40)
3. A New Commandment (John 13:34-35)
So, our mission is to make disciples and our mandates are to love God, love each other, and love our neighbors as ourselves (which also means we are to love ourselves).
Jesus taught about loving our neighbors through the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The questioner asked, “Who is my neighbor” (who am I required to love). Jesus answered by asking, “Who needs a neighbor” (who needs to be loved).
Practical tips for taking love on the road outside the walls of the church:
1. Begin intentionally responding in loving service to the needs of the community.
2. Before we can do that … Begin intentionally identifying needs in the community.
3. To do that … Begin intentionally investing in relationships in the community.
4. To accomplish that … Begin intentionally engaging in conversations in the community.
5. To prepare for that … Begin intentionally praying for God to give your church to your community. (Check out Episode 15: Give me TO this community)
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*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)