A magnetic church

Our six-year-old grandson loves to play with a magnetic building toy at our house.  He builds fantastic shapes with the plastic pieces, each tipped with magnets.

For me, this is a picture of what churches can be – each different, each original, and each a magnet to others.

Jesus gave the simple formula for building a magnetic church in Luke 10:27:

“He answered: ‘Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'”

But, being human, we try to one-up Jesus by making church more user-friendly and appealing to popular culture.  It is certainly important that people not be put off by strangeness when they join us for worship.  But everything we do should take a back seat to Jesus’ two commands – in fact, they are essential pillars of a Christ-like church.

I confess to falling into the trap of techniques in my own approach to church life.  My passion is prayer and I have devoured books on prayer, trying to figure out a way of getting everyone on my own prayer bandwagon.

The first few chapters of the Book of Acts tell us what a loving church is like.  It was so attractive that thousands became believers and joined the church in a matter of weeks after Christ’s ascension.  It was a magnetic church.

Their secret was the love of God – the Holy Spirit – living within them and prompting them to love each other.

Our own church is now considering how to build loving and life-changing relationships within families and between older and younger generations.  That is an important step.

Recently, I meditated on Paul’s admonitions in Romans 12:9-18.  What a list of godly goals!  It begins with loving each other which covers everything that follows.  The rest gives us different facets of a loving believer – and a loving church.

I was humbled by what I read, realizing there were many areas where I needed to grow.

I was touched this morning by a tribute given by a young man in the Sunday service.  He told us about an older man in our congregation who befriended him as a teenager and spent time with him, getting to know him, encouraging him and giving wise counsel.

That is love in action.

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