If someone were to use a few words to describe you, what would you want them to say? We asked this question as a church, and, ultimately, found our answer in a story about two guys in the Bible named Peter and John.
The cultural leaders of the day described both men as “unschooled and ordinary.” They were confused because Peter and John were also courageous. They knew there was something different about them, and what the leaders took note of was that Peter and John had spent time with Jesus.
Maybe you wouldn’t call yourself a Christian, but you’ve met someone who would but doesn’t live like it. Maybe you’ve met someone where you could tell there was something different—someone who seems like they have spent time with Jesus.
Like Peter and John, whose courage and confidence were a byproduct of a life spent with Jesus, we want to be a community of believers in the way of Jesus. Our vision as a church is to unleash the full force of the church to love people one at a time.
This magazine was founded around that vision—to help ordinary people live courageous and unleashed lives through the way of Jesus. Each issue will unpack a value of our church, with the first being the One at a Time way of Jesus.
It’s a theme that’s personal for me, because, although I’m a pastor, I sometimes struggle to connect with people. Initially, I developed a strategy for dealing with my lack of people skills: 1) Avoid it. 2) Fake it. 3) Pretend. That felt insincere, and I ended up emotionally drained and irritated by the very people I was supposed to love.
One morning I got to church early, sat in the empty Sanctuary, and prayed. I told God how much I loved people, but I didn’t always know how to love people. I opened the Bible to the stories about Jesus and what surprised me was that in the midst of large crowds, the number that mattered to Jesus was the number one—He had a way of focusing on the one.
As I read this, it was like the words came off the page and slapped me in the face. I wasn’t just convicted, I was wrecked. God was speaking to me. I realized He called me—He has called each of us who follow Jesus—to make sure that no one goes unnoticed.
Think about your day. How have you interacted with others? For Jesus, the question in a crowd was always, “Where is the one who must not go unnoticed?” Don’t get me wrong, Jesus loves everyone in the crowd, but the way He loves them is one at a time.
So, in Issue 1 of Unleashed, one is the focus. My prayer is that this issue gives you new eyes to live unleashed and to love people one at a time.
Southeast Christian Church