Love God. Love People. Change the World.

Love God. Love People. Change the World.

Every organization must constantly reexamine its reasons for existing, why it “does business,” so to speak. If it doesn’t, it’ll wake up one morning engaged in frenetic activity that has little to do with its purpose.

A company that provides products or services may find itself on the wrong side of changes in the market and may be left behind its competitors. Sales fall off, revenue decreases, and the company goes out of business.

A similar problem faces churches. We’re not interested in “making sales,” of course, but we do face pressure to stray from our Founder’s original intent. Presented with millions of good opportunities, how do we choose? What questions do we ask when we decide what we’re going to do, who we’re going to be?

At first glance, we might assume that the church’s purpose is obvious and that every church member knows it. We might point to passages like this one and suggest that our purpose is clear: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, emphasis added).

The church—the congregation in Hoover we call home—should bring glory to God.

That sounds simple enough, but what does it mean? And are we doing it? Is “glory to God” something we can measure? If so, how?

We’ve selected a theme for 2018 and presented it to you several times already: Love God. Love People. Change the World.

You’ll hear quite a bit about it in the coming days, but crafting a theme means nothing on its own, of course. Creating catchy graphics and putting banners up are insufficient to change who we are.

But God still shapes his people, and he works powerfully among those who are interested in submitting to his leadership.

Once Jesus was asked the question that we’re asking this year: What’s most important? Why are we here? How do we glorify God?

His answer was simple: Love God. Love People. This, he said, is why we’re here. This is how we glorify God. This is how we fulfill our reason for waking up every morning.

So this year we’ll explore this theme. We’ll ask ourselves some soul-searching questions. We’ll ask God to help us submit more fully to him. And we’ll seek to follow more consistently the leadership of the One who created his church to do his work in the world.

It’s simple but easy to forget: Love him. Love his people. And make a difference in his world.