For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. — John 13:15
I have been wrestling with the fact that almost all mainline churches are shrinking.
I believe Christianity has the best seat in the house: we have Jesus incarnate — fully divine and fully human. So then, what is happening? One of the reasons I believe the Church is shrinking is because somewhere along the way, the Church let doctrine and creed take the driver’s seat. Jesus never asked me to recite a creed or believe in a doctrine. (Please don’t get me wrong; there is a place for both.)
I believe that Jesus asked and asks two core actions, both rooted in love: to love the Lord God with all of my heart and love my neighbor as myself. Jesus’ ministry focuses on action and behavior; it is about demonstration, not recitation. Right up until Jesus took his last breath, Jesus’ example reminds me that it is my job to carry that example forward. My hope is that I and all of us at Ascension continue to do what we do so imperfectly perfect: that we are known as his disciples when they see how we love one another, for it is through our individual and collective actions that everyone will know we are his and he is our beloved.