As I’ve been praying about where God is leading First Wayne Street UMC, three words keep coming to mind: go, love, together.
As United Methodists, we have a call to “go and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” That is our mission. That is our call. So, what will that look like at First Wayne Street?
In a time when an increasing number of people are finding the Church to be irrelevant, there simply is not a quick fix. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves a few questions:
- Are we willing to do the hard work?
- Are we willing to become uncomfortable?
- Are we willing to give up some of our familiar traditions in order to make space for others?
In his book “unChristian”, author David Kinnaman shares some insights of what those outside the Church think about Christianity. Here are the words used to describe Christians, “hypocritical, anti-homosexual, sheltered, too political, judgmental.”
While stereotypes are often unfair, they also often contain a healthy dose of truth. That’s why it’s vitally important that we followers of Jesus commit to embodying and extending God’s love and grace.
So, as I pray about where God is leading us, I find myself wrestling with our vision. Our vision represents how we will live our out mission. I believe the three words that keep coming into my mind (go, love, together) will be wrapped into God’s vision for us today and into the future.
These three words stem from three foundational passages of Scripture.
- GO! In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus challenges His followers, ” Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus calls us to go and gives us the comforting reminder that He will be with us as we go.
- LOVE! In Mark 12:28-34, Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment. He answers in verses 30-31, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Jesus makes it clear that love is the greatest call of His followers. So, we are called to “go” and “love”.
- TOGETHER! In John 17, Jesus prays for Himself, His followers, and those who will come to believe in Him. It’s a beautiful and powerful prayer. Within that prayer, Jesus prays that His followers would “they would be one as you (God) and I are one” (verse 11 and again in verse 21). The idea of “being one” is that we would recognize that we’re all in this together. When we “go” in “love” we should be “together”.
I believe God is calling us to go, love, together! I also believe that as we go, love, together, God will help us connect with others in our community and help them see that maybe we aren’t like the stereotypes David Kinnaman highlights. As we go, love, together, others might become curious about why we go, love, together and desire to join us on the journey.
I’ll be sharing more about where I believe God is calling us in the near future! In the meantime, let us be people of love and grace as we go, love, together!