Friday, 3 December 2010

Jesus

Jesus is not a brand that the church sells to attract clients. He is not a marketing strategy that powerful men dream up in order to grow their business. He is not an event that is held once a year, with flashing lights and mood music, that people go to for an adrenaline rush. He is not a stock market that measures its success on how well the share price is doing. He is not a clever idea that is used to dismantle other ideas. He is not an advertisement that lures people in with feel good suggestions. He is not something to manipulate people with in order to gain a response and reach a target. He is not resource that is used to further ourselves and our careers. Jesus is not a product that we use to grow church.

I write this as I reflect on this post that Sam has highlighted on his blog (I agree with bits of it and disagree with other bits).

I think one of the issues that the church in the West needs to think through is how it can be genuine. The church is not a building, it is all those who are disciples of Jesus Christ, and these disciples are called to be people of integrity, people of love, people who are genuine.

The problem is that we have become an event based, strategy based, plan based group of people who sees evangelism and mission as a thing we do once we have worked out clear, measurable and attainable goals. Churches have targets and plans for the communities they live in, usually centred around what they do on a Sunday, and then roll out these strategies with the hope that they will attract people to church, and that the real sign of success will be how many people are coming on a Sunday morning.

We've turned love into a commodity and Jesus into a brand that we sell.

I don't think the church needs anymore strategies or plans or events. I think disciples of Jesus need to learn from their Master how to love their community unconditionally. The church needs to release people to BE in their community as a collective group, living and loving like Jesus. Stop your events, tear up your targets and get out into your community and get to know them. Don't think about anything other than how you can love and serve the people you meet day in day out. You're not there to win prizes, be famous, get bums on seats or anything else, you're there to love like Jesus loves, live like Jesus lives, sacrifice yourself and be real.

Don't let your faith get sidelined to a Sunday morning, but rather allow your faith to be seen and heard by the way you love God, love each other and love your neighbour. And love needs to be seen.

Are you a church leader? Are you involved with a church? How about you take a massive risk and stop all the events, stop the Christmas services, and call your church to go into the community and serve them where they are. Take a risk.

And don't try and 'sell' Jesus.

Jesus is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world. He is the One who sacrificed his life, who died so that we might live. He is radical. He is a rebel. He is love and grace, truth and life. He is beautiful. He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. He was beaten and cursed, forsaken and rejected. He is alive and victorious, the One who seeks to heal and transform. He is unpredictable and more loving and gracious than we dare to imagine. He heals the sick, gives new life to 'sinners', rejects power and embraces the role of a servant.

Jesus walks the Way of the cross, carrying the weight of sin and death on His shoulders, in order that love and life will be given to all who will accept it. And He calls His followers to walk in His footsteps, freely sharing His love and life with all who we meet.

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