Pin Board Revelations: Love One Another

This post is part of a series that comes from an exercise we did as a church to name our reality. You can read more about that exercise here.

The most overwhelming positive theme was our love and care for each other.

  • “We love well.” (This one had a bunch of pins!)
  • “There’s a strong sense of community.”
  • “People know and love my kids.”

Our family has experienced this and I know many others have as well. We have walked through some great joys and some terrible sorrows. This love and care has not been perfect (we’ll get to that), but that is no reason to deny that sacrificial love and care is a beautiful hallmark of our church. It is not common, and it should be celebrated. This isn’t to pat ourselves on our collective back, it is a clear manifestation of the work of God in and among us. Praise God that he has so deeply rooted this in our DNA! After all, sacrificial love and care for each other is an important aspect of God’s design for the church.

Loving each other well is an important aspect of what the church is supposed to be.

  • “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
  • “Be devoted to one another in love.” Romans 12:10
  • “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

However, even this one wasn’t unanimous.

  • “I have felt the difficulty of breaking in to the core group when new. Now I might be one of them.”
  • “We let people leave Trailhead too easily.”
  • “No one invites us to dinner/coffee/community. People are warm when I’m present but I feel disconnected–so I have not been welcoming either.”

I think there are a few things going on here.

Which of these resonate with your thoughts and experience?

  • Our greatest care for each other comes in times of crisis (and far from being bad, I think that’s normal). During the “regular” times of life there isn’t as much intention given to care and shared life. We can grow in our intentional investment in each other during those “regular” times, but we also need to understand that it is natural for care to be more intentional and lavish during times of crisis. I once heard someone say that the most important aspect of a small group is to foster relationships so they exist when the “stuff” hits the fan. These are the times we need people most, and that’s okay, as long as we understand that those relationships are the fruit of consistent investment week in and week out.
  • Our actions don’t match our desires. God has made us with a desire for relationships and the church is meant to be a key part of the fulfillment of this desire. However, when that desire goes unfulfilled we can easily focus on our dissatisfaction more than the part we play in that dissatisfaction. We want to be invited, but are we inviting? (Are we accepting the invitations that are offered?) We want to be welcomed, but are we welcoming? If each one of us focused on being welcoming and inviting toward others, in a short time we’d find that we feel more included and connected.
  • We forget the gospel. Jesus went to the cross to provide the means of reconciliation to God and other people. If we are exclusive, cold, or apathetic toward others, we are not living in the reconciling power of the gospel. We also forget Jesus’ example. He went to the ones who were ignored by others. His presence honored the dignity of each person. He couldn’t be equally close with everyone he met, but he was present with each person.

In this area of love and care for one another I see three key questions.

  1. How can we continue to offer sacrificial care for each other so that what has been true of Trailhead in the past will continue to be true in the future?
  2. How can we expand this love and care so that no one feels excluded from it?
  3. What can you do–yes you–to help make Trailhead a church where genuine love and care continue to be a hallmark of our church? (This could be things like attitudes, actions, habits, etc.)
5 replies
  1. Jen H.
    Jen H. says:

    #3—-our family usually jets out fairly quickly on Sunday nights because we are all hungry and tired, but I am going to challenge myself (and my family) to try and stay longer after our worship gatherings to connect with people more!

  2. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    I was thinking for me it comes down to selfishness. How am I feeling today? Do I feel like engaging or making excuses? Am I depleted? Maybe I should be asking questions like, who looks like they need encouragement? Is there someone here I don’t know as well I can connect with? Also encouraging our kids to engage other kids and have open eyes for this.

  3. Amy Walker
    Amy Walker says:

    I am so thankful for the sacrificial love and care my family and I have received at Trailhead – not just in crisis, but in everyday life. We don’t have any family in Colorado so, for us, the people of Trailhead are our family. After my sister moved away I realized how much I desire a family-type relationship (meant in the best way!) with our church family but I struggle in offering that kind of relationship myself or knowing how to open my home, my heart, my life – the good, the bad, and the ugly – to others. This is something I am trying to change, by the grace of God.

    Shockingly, I am not one to sail breezily through life and I get worn down easily. I read this in Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way, “The way to slowly die is to believe you live in a space of scarcity and not abundance of generosity.” So often I operate from a place of feeling like I don’t have enough to give whether it’s time, money, myself. But this is not true! I have so very much. What if I operated more from an abundance of generosity? Believing I have more than enough and that sometimes just showing up, asking one question to a visitor, asking a family out to dinner can make a difference. Even more, trusting that although I may FEEL like I have scarcely anything to give, God will provide me with the strength to love, serve, and be poured out for his purposes.

  4. Laini Hartzell
    Laini Hartzell says:

    People know and love my kids! Yes! So thankful that this is true for our family and I do hope that I offer that to other kids at Trailhead, as it has been offered to us.

    I too hope to live out of abundance rather than scarcity in all of life. As a family, we will be more intentional this summer with invitation. Also, I hope that we can enter the worship gathering each week with open eyes, to see needs and engage even when it’s that last thing we really want to do! As we do these things I hope that what has begun as simply discipline will be carried out with the love of Jesus and become more of a desire than simply a discipline.

  5. trevor.lee
    trevor.lee says:

    So much good stuff here. I really resonate with the idea of changing our perspective that you’ve all talked about in different ways. I wonder how we can encourage each other to continue in the type of perspective changes you’ve all talked about. I’d love for us to encourage each other in these types of things.

    One thing that’s been important for me is figuring out specific actions to take when I see from a new perspective (Michelle’s helped me with this since I don’t naturally go to the practical!). One example of something this looked like for me. A few weeks ago I was really challenged about the way I approach our worship gatherings. I was often running around taking care of details or just hanging out rather unintentionally. I decided to stand at the door–hold it for people–and greet them as they came in. I did that because I wanted to contribute to creating a more welcoming environment, but what I’ve found is that it’s been so good for me. I love our church and getting to at least say hi and give hugs and handshakes to pretty much everyone has been good for my soul. If visitors come I get to meet them right away. It’s just been interesting for me that as I acted on a different perspective I feel like I’ve gained so much from it.

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