Does How You Treat People Reflect What You SAY You Believe?

As I write this I sit in the lobby at the Orange Tour stop in Atlanta. There is a quote that Reggie Joiner spoke this morning that has stuck with me. He said it at the Orange Conference this year and it struck me there too, but this time I just can’t shake it.

“If your belief system causes you to be mean to people, you need to reconsider your belief system.”

Wow!!! Does that hit you the same way it hits me? Seriously, when we look around do we ever see people that claim to be Christians that are treating other people badly? Maybe it’s in how the church  generally treats the LGBT community. Maybe it’s how we treat the poor. Maybe it’s how we treat drug addicts or alcoholics, or people that struggle with pornography. Maybe it’s simply how we treat people who look different from us.

Think for a moment how YOUR church would react if someone covered in tattoos walked into your church.

Or maybe two girls or guys holding hands.

Chances are the reception for either of these people would not be good in MOST churches. I’m not trying to open a discussion about the right or wrong of any of these things. I am certainly open to discussing it. Meet me sometime, I’ll by you a cup of coffee and we can talk about it, but that isn’t want this post is about.

It’s about how we treat people.

Jesus summed up all of the Old Testament law in one sentence, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” BUT, he didn’t stop there. He then went on to say, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Would we claim Christianity, but hate God? That seem ridiculous, but at the same time, we claim Christianity while hating our neighbors. I know, if I asked most Christians, they would deny hating anybody, but how does that play out in their lives? What do their lives say about how they feel about people? Chances are their lives would say something different from what their mouths say.

Please understand that as with much of what I write, this is something that I struggle with at times as well. I’m not trying to condemn anyone. After all as Paul wrote, “There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.” But, I do pray that the Holy Spirit will convict you. I hope that by reading this you will take a serious look at how you treat people and will begin to work to change that.

I understand that this is not necessarily an easy thing to do. In fact in our own nature it is probably impossible. BUT, we no longer live in our own nature. We are no longer slaves to our sinful nature. We have been set free and we have the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us. Pray that God would help you with this. Lean into the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Listen to that still small voice as it speaks to you. If your not sure how to do that, let me know. I’d love to talk more about that.

Matt Norman

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Yellow and Red Make Orange

I remember when I was a kid Ziploc did a series of commercials promoting their newly developed product that they said would help you ensure that the contents of their bags stayed in the bag. Their new bags had one side of the zipper that was yellow and the other was blue. When you put these two together you get green. Their claim was that if you closed the bag and the strip turned green, then you could count on it being closed. Mixing yellow and blue to make green is a very basic color concept that we learn at a vey early age. Another similar combination is yellow and red which gives you ORANGE. I believe that this knowledge is a key in successful ministry to children, youth and their families.

Ok, if you have not been following be very long you may be thinking that I have lost my mind. What could these colors have to do with ministry? Well, this is the basis for a movement in ministry that is often described as Orange. The company behind this movement is reThink. In an effort to be open here, this company does produce curriculum for preschool, children, and youth. If you are interested you can check it out HERE.

This is not about curriculum.

I have used the curriculum that this company produces and there is much I like about it, but that is not what this post, or this movement is about. This is about having the greatest impact possible in the lives of children. I have used a number of different curriculums and regardless of what curriculum you use, the goal is to have the greatest impact possible in the lives of those you serve.

Yellow is the Church. Jesus said that we, the Church, are the light of the world. We are here to shine the light of Jesus into a dark and ever darkening world. That is why we exist and, when done right, it is what we excel at.

Red is for family. Red is the color often associated with love. The family is the center of love in our world. For children the home and family should be the place where they experience the most love.

Yellow and red make orange. When mixing paint the goal is to get something different than you started with. You mix red and yellow paint to make orange paint. When you mix the LIGHT (yellow) of the church and the LOVE (red) of the home, then you get orange. The idea is that when we work together we can have a much greater impact than either of can have on our own. A grey family and a great church will have a great impact on the lives of children, but when they work together the impact will be even greater.

What does this look like? Well I would love to say that there is a formula for making this happen in your church, but it simply doesn’t work that way. Each church, family, community, ministry is different. As such the way that this works in your church will be different. The specifics of how this works is not important. It’s about an intentional and determined move towards partnership between the church and the family. Spend some time thinking about this. Talk with other leaders in your church. Talk with key families in your church about beginning to build this partnership. Talk with other ministry leaders outside your church and see what works for them. How you do it is not as important as simply that you do it.

Do something. I have a problem where I tend to want to plan stuff to death. In fact sometimes I plan to the point where I end up DOING nothing. I just plan and plan, never starting for fear of not having every detail addressed. Here’s the deal YOU WILL NEVER HAVE EVERY DETAIL PLANNED OUT. So, spend a some time planning, but then jump into it. Focus on consistent evaluation and improvement and get to work.

How do YOU partner with families?

I’d love to hear how you are currently partnering with families to have a greater impact in the lives of children.

Matt Norman

Thanks for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. To ensure that you never miss a post subscribe using the space on the right side of the screen.