Church is about people, not programs. This is not to diminish programs and ministries, which are essential, but they are important because they enable ministry to people. People are primary. The struggle for a church is to keep the main thing the main thing-‐-‐we are here to connect people to Jesus and to one another in his church. If we allow secondary things to distract, divide or discourage us, we will not achieve the primary thing God has called us to do.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul is writing to a church in Corinth, and he has been working through some issues they were experiencing that were distracting them from their Savior, dividing them relationally, and discouraging the ministry of the church. In the middle of his letter, he stops and writes one of the most beautiful passages in our Bible. It’s almost a parenthesis—where he’s been dealing with all the details of their situation, and he suddenly stops, steps back and says, “Guys, here’s the point of it all: love.”
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends….So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
As a new church, we could roll out every program, meet our budget, ﬁll every chair Sunday after Sunday, buy land, build a building, tell every person in the city about Jesus, feed every hungry child in the region, launch overseas missions projects, plant churches, you name it…but if love for God and love for others is not fueling our activity, then the Bible says it’s not worth it.
Love is always our greatest need. We need to experience the love of God in Jesus Christ, and then grow in our love toward one another.
When love is lacking…
- Our prayers are hindered
- Our worship is shallow
- Our evangelism is sporadic
- Our relationships are strained
- Our ministry is draining
- God’s glory is tarnished
But when love is active…
- Our prayers resound
- Our worship deepens
- Our evangelism prevails
- Our relationships are energized
- Our ministry ﬂourishes
- God’s glory explodes
Love is the hinge on which a church turns. Everything else depends on it.
This post was written by Jeﬀ Lawrence, Lead Pastor of Redemption Church.
–January 12th is a very big day for Redemption Church! Thank you for praying with us! For more information about the launch of Redemption Church and how you can pray for us, please click here.