As we go into the busy fall and winter season of church special events and outreach, it's easy to focus on the visible, tangible aspects of our church communications: the design and graphics we use, a discussion on what should be printed and what should be sent out digitally. All these are important, but they aren't the most important thing.
As we prepare for the huge amount of work ahead, we need to stop and as church communicators and as a church staff commit to what is most important in our upcoming communications. To do that as disciples of Jesus, let's look at what is most important to Jesus.
How do we determine what's most important to Jesus?
We don't have to wonder—the four Gospels paint a clear picture of Jesus' priorities. Clearly, his priority was people. He spent his time with people, teaching, challenging, touching them. One of the most astounding things about his interactions with people was how he seemed to go out of his way to interact with people considered unimportant by the rest of society: lepers, the blind, tax-collectors, women with bad reputations.
Though he preached to crowds, we have many stories of how he focused on individuals. In John 3 we have the record of his conversation with Nicodemus, where one of the most important summaries of his mission and purpose, John 3:16 was shared with one man, not announced to a crowd. In Luke 8 he stops on the way to heal an important man's daughter to talk to a woman with a crippling, life-long disease. Though she was "unclean" to the rest of her world, Jesus took time, spoke to her and healed her.
One of the most important summaries of what is important to Jesus is in Matt: 25:37 through 40, when at the final judgment he summarizes what he considers most worthy of reward:
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I've often thought how foolish it is for us to argue about the signs of end times and wonder about what will happen, when Jesus has clearly shown us what we wants us to be about before that time comes. If we want it to go well for us in the last judgment, we want to be about what is pleasing to Jesus. With this background of a clear picture of the priorities of our Lord, let's get practical. [Read more...]