I picked up a quote from Christy Wimber, speaking at New Wine this week – ‘a loved individual creates a loving church’. I imagine she was saying something to those in leadership, about the need to be receivers – to those who have been forgiven much, to those who have received much grace ….
Apparently I said something similar yesterday – talking about the Good Samaritan – 'it’s not the givers, but the receivers who define love’. The characteristic of ‘love’ is not defined by our church programme, or the ‘care team’ agenda, but by the awareness of the person on the receiving end. The man left for half dead would define ‘love’ by the Good Samaritan’s attitudes (when he 'saw' he went to him, unlike the Levite and Priest) and actions (bandages, lift on his donkey, medication, care, bed, meals, etc.).
As church leaders we need to take care, lest we think our preaching definitions are achieving anything. It's not what we say, which defines whether we are a loving church, or not. I notice whenever I suggest people ask those who've merely attended a church activity, or passed through and not come back, what they think about a particular church, those in leaders start getting twitchy.
Next one from Christy Wimber: ‘you can give and not love, but you can't love and not give’.