Who are you?
Wife, father, daughter, friend, boss, volunteer, leader…. There are a lot of words that can describe who we are and the different roles and tasks we complete. Everyone has several specific words that describe our roles with real meaning and emotions attached to these titles…but is that who you really are?
A better question might be, “What defines you?”
Our daily routines in relation to our roles do in some ways define our lives, but they leave out some of the most important parts of our identity as well. For example, ‘mother’ can mean single mother, foster mother, grandmother, or mother of a child who has died. The title is the same, but what defines it brings added and needed clarity.
The church has the same predicament. As a church, we have many weekly routines and roles including worship, preaching the Bible, giving, and making disciples, but what defines these processes?
At Real Life Church we have a set of core values—definitions if you will. Our set of 10 Core Values further define us as a church and flesh out the basic roles of our church in a way that brings clarity to our mission. The purpose of the next several blog posts is to share the core values of Real Life Church.
To a newcomer, even the simple weekly functions of church can be daunting and unfamiliar and things like music, preaching, learning and giving can all seem uncomfortable in and of themselves. At Real Life, we want our core values, to define these elements of church to describe how we follow God in a real way that makes sense, that makes it easy to know who we are and so people know what to expect when they experience Real Life.
Our first and most important core value is Always, Only Jesus: The Gospel is the center of every area of our lives.
The gospel (or good news of Jesus) is at the center of every area our lives and that means we don’t separate the secular from the spiritual. To put it a different way, we don’t just do ‘spiritual’ things at church on Sunday or small group on Tuesday night. We consider every part of our lives as an opportunity to live for Jesus and represent Him. Our job is spiritual, our relationship with our spouse and kids has eternal value, how we treat our server at the restaurant represents how Jesus would act. When the gospel is at the center of who we are, every part of our lives becomes about Jesus. He is the sustainer and solution to everything in our lives and it is our privilege as the Church to preach the gospel and restorative work of Jesus to our community and around the world.
We didn’t invent this principle. It’s littered throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. When God created the world, Jesus was there, and throughout every famous Bible story leading up to his birth, resurrection and beyond the ages of time, Jesus is the focal point in the story of our relationship with God. His role in the world and the church is best defined by an awesome passage in Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse:
“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels— everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.”
Colossians 1:18-20 MSG
The bible is clear that Jesus is the one leading the Church and at Real Life, it’s our prayer that this truth is always evident. One way we like to say it is that “Jesus is our lead story”. He is the first and most important part of all that we do and everything else is secondary to making the name of Jesus famous. He’s first in our gatherings, first with our small groups, first in our parking lot, first with hospitality, first with our kids, and first in our lives.
Is Jesus your lead story? Does Always, Only, Jesus define your life?
If you’d like to find out more about Jesus, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, check out The Jesus Bible, an awesome way to encounter and know Jesus published by Passion Resources.