Will they know us by our cool logo? Will they know us by our hip music? Will they know us by our relevant teaching? Will they know us by our updated website? Will they know us by the numbers we attract? Will they know us by the programs we offer?
Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
It is easy for churches (and pastors) to spend a lot of energy on things that are secondary. Many of these things are good, and even necessary, but they are not sufficient. Without love, all of our activity is in vain.
Paul states this clearly in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Notice that the apostle catches all of us with his application. Some of us are feeler Christians, anxious to demonstrate our faith in worship experiences. Some of us are thinker Christians, preferring to demonstrate our faith in what we know. Some of us are doer Christians, ready to demonstrate our faith in works of service. But without love, we gain nothing.
I confess that God is teaching me this lesson in my own life. It is easy for me to get caught up in religious activity that fails to consider the actual people I am called to love. I need to repent of my own preferred version of Christian experience if it prevents me from loving well the people God places in my life.
As a church, we want to be a group of people who love others well. We long for the day when “church” ceases to be an optional event we attend for an experience or information. Instead, we want “church” to be a group of people we love. We can’t wait to see these people and worship with them, share a meal with them, laugh with them, serve with them, cry with them. What we do is not as important as WHO we do it with.
That sort of religious activity, the sort where people matter most, points us to our future hope. The hope of the Christian is a day coming when God’s people will live with him forever. God doesn’t really tell us WHAT we will be doing, does he? But he does tell us WHO we will be doing it with: God and other believers.
We strongly encourage you to consider being a part of a Fellowship Group. If you can’t do that, find another way to build relationships with other Christians. What you do is not as important as who you do it with. They will know us by our love!