Do You Love the People You Have Now?

keep-calm-and-love-sheep-32The best leaders are always looking for a way to take things to the next level.

That’s a good thing. Without this trait, we’d be stuck with the status quo, never pushing ourselves to improve or grow.

For church planters and pastors, this often means we focus on reaching new people. We cast vision to help the church care about new people. We create systems and strategies to reach new people. We create environments that will be attractive and helpful to new people.

The focus on reaching new people is a good thing, but only if you love the people you already have.

A major danger for church leaders is using the people you have to reach the people you really want. (Read that sentence again. How dark is that?)

But God has called church leaders to truly love. To lay their lives down for the sheep. To shepherd the flock of God that is among them. To love them the way we’d want to be loved ourselves.

If we don’t really love God’s people this way now, why would God want to send more people to us?

There’s a difference between a mom who wants to have more children because she treasures her kids and there’s still more love in her heart and a Ms. Hannigan who wants to house more orphans so she can get more money and free child labor.

Pastor, it’s good that you want to grow the church and reach new people. This is consistent with Jesus, who talked about a shepherd leaving the 99 to find the 1. But the good shepherd loves the 99 so much that he’d go after them too.

So let’s stop looking over the fence at the greener grass. Let’s stop letting our insecurities and pride drive us to make a name for ourselves.

Rather, let’s love the people we have so much that they would want their friends and neighbors to be loved like that too.

Published by

Luke Simmons

I was born and raised in Denver, CO and lived there through high school. Then I moved to Champaign, IL where I attended the University of Illinois and played on the Fighting Illini baseball team. I was married in December, 2001 to Molly, who I met at the U of I. In June of 2002, we moved to Phoenix and have been here ever since. In July of 2006, we welcomed a baby girl, Abby, into our family.

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