Body of Christ at Its Best When Loving the Unlovable

Post a Comment » Written on June 25th, 2009     
Filed under: News
By Stan Friedman

PORTLAND, OR (June 25, 2009) – On a night that focused on “the beauty of the new birth,” preacher Dave Gibbons told the gathering at the opening worship service of the Evangelical Covenant Church’s 124th Annual Meeting that the body of Christ is most beautiful when it loves the unlovable.

The service also highlighted the commissioning of new missionaries, with the traditional procession of the flags representing countries where Covenant missionaries serve opening the service. Click here to read a related story. To see additional photos, click here.

Gibbons“Consider how do we as a church look beautiful to the world,” Gibbons said. “Do we look beautiful? Are we really that beautiful bride? Or are we that type of ordinary, normal type of organization that may be like any organization that is helping people?”

Gibbons is helping to pioneer new ministries as well as new approaches to ministry. He is the founding pastor of Newsong Community Church, a multisite Covenant, international third-culture church. He serves on the board of World Vision U.S. and has founded, a new online social tool that helps match donors with causes.

Gibbons also is the author of The Monkey and the Fish: Liquid Leadership for Third Culture Leaders, and a contributing author to Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity…And Why it Matters.

There are no ready-made, specific beauty secrets for each church, Gibbons said. There, are however, three questions each congregation should ask.

Holding up his open hand, Gibbons asked, “What is in my hand?” Too often, the church looks at what it lacks when trying to figure out how to reach the world, he explained.

But, he added, “Most people can’t relate to your strengths, but they can relate to your weaknesses.”

Gibbons also asked people to consider who are the people on the fringes in their communities—“Or can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

FlagsThe question also needs to be asked with a servant’s heart, he said.  “We’ve pimped the second commandment,” Gibbons stated. “We’ve used it for our own gain. How we’ve defined neighbor is ‘someone like us.’ ”

But the gospel calls us to define the neighbor as someone who is not like us, or the people we don’t want to be around, or to forgive, Gibbons said.

“If you focus on the unlovable, the world will take note,” he declared.

Finally, he said, churches and individuals should ask, “What is my pain?”

He closed by sharing how members of his church who served in Iraq testified about hating a dust storm that had stalled their troop movement. The storm was so bad, that the soldiers could not see anything in front of them.

However, when the storm died down, the soldiers saw that the winds had blown away a layer of sand that had covered over a minefield.

Had it not been for the storm, the troops would have continued on a path that would have led to their possible death.

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