"Love God, Love People, Serve the World with Joy"
When Jesus was asked to identify the single most important command of scripture, this was it. “Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind”. (Matthew 22:36-40; Deuteronomy 6:5). This mandate is part of the original created order. We are designed to be in close union with God and glorify His name in the cosmos.
This is a deeply personal undertaking in that we worship and serve God in every part of our private and public life. It is also a corporate undertaking in that God’s people are to gather often to worship God together (Hebrews 10:24-25; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:26).
This mandate is fulfilled in numerous ways in our 21st century suburban setting. Corporately we gather to worship and grow, spurring each other on in our faith. We share communion, pray and exhort the use of all God’s gifts. How this looks can vary, and there are other valid ways to love God together.
Jesus was quick to add this next command to His choice of priorities. (Matthew 22:36-40; Leviticus 19:18). By people, Jesus was clearly referring to our neighbours, those in our community with which we rub shoulders. We are to love them, reaching out proactively to meet their needs and reveal Christ to them.
Any genuine love for God will have a love for people in its wake. If you are full of God, you will be compelled to let that grace overflow in a myriad of ways that meet the needs of those around us.
We fulfil this mandate by going out and serving our community. We find the needs Jesus would want to be met, and become His hands and feet through justice and mercy.
SERVE THE WORLD
Genesis 1:28 gives us insight into our reason for existence – we are to “be fruitful, increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it”. This is Old Testament language for taking the Shalom of Eden, which perfectly represented the peace and order of God’s kingdom, and take it in to the world at large.
We are to make our planet look more and more like heaven’s design. Jesus said we should pray (and plan) that God’s will be done down here as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).
This mandate is fulfilled everyday by believers in their workplace, and other missional activities. We at SouthPine Community Church also play a part corporately by providing a facility that can be used to draw people from the community in. We provide programs, and also allow community organisations to use our space, building bridges through playgroups and hall hire etc. Of course we are also deeply committed to activities of mission, where our people strive to bring all sorts of kingdom values into various cultural settings here and abroad.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
In John 13:34, Jesus gave us a new commandment – we were to love one another. He was talking to the disciples, giving them the imperative to be unified in love and purpose. He was telling the body of Christ to look after itself! It was a redemptive addition to our creation mandate of loving people.
We do this in a myriad of ways which we are currently putting under the umbrella of being “known”. People need to have others watching their back; drawing them in; and caring for their needs. We use small groups, spiritual friendships and other programs to ensure our relational needs are met in healthy ways.
Again, this is a specific addition to the creation mandate to serve the world. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus told the disciples to replicate themselves … to bear fruit that would in turn bear its own fruit.
This is done by one-on-one mentoring, teaching and exhorting, and helping people contribute their unique gifts to the body. This is all wrapped up in the idea of being “Grown & Engaged”. We are currently hard at work on an exciting new way of doing this in our context.