"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility born of wisdom." - James 3:13
The core of my Christian faith is that I don't need to earn God's love. It is a gift. I know this to be true all the way down to the soles of my shoes.
But publicly telling people "God loves you" doesn't work as evangelism any more. Talking about God's love will not bring people in to church, because God's love has gotten a bad name. In fact, a recent Pew study showed that when people under 30 were asked what word comes to mind when they think of church, 93% said: "meanies."
Alright, there's a possibility that I made that up. But I only made it up because the actual responses are much more depressing. And nobody needs to start their day like that.
It's a drag, but it's true. Telling people that God loves them doesn't cut it. We have to show them, instead.
With handmade Pride Parade banners and installing a lift to the chancel and making restrooms gender inclusive and giving away land to a community garden and putting solar panels on the roof and crossing borders to stand with asylum seekers and with deeds done in humility born of wisdom: we have to show people what God's love is.
That's how people will learn about the good news—if we live it out right before their eyes.
Holy God, plant in our spirits a zeal for Your love, that we might declare it with our whole lives.
John Edgerton is Associate Pastor at Old South Church in Boston, Massachusetts.