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You matter and I'm not just saying that
Every week I try to head to the heart Temple’s campus and I pass out flyers about Circle of Hope. I want to get the word out. I want to be known for being foolish enough to pass them out. I want people to know that we are this serious about inclusion. Flyers might not be the best strategy (we’re also forming a cell at Temple), but I think it is a good discipline. It keeps my eyes open and on the ball.
My friend Sean told me that he liked the actually flyer too. Sean was an advertising major, so I love what he has to say. But I got some more pushback from others. Here’s what the flyer looks like. It's a play on Temple's slogan.
Some people thought I was downplaying the importance of college. I love Temple University! And I think education matters. So I’m not really discouraging students from growing. But I don’t think that we have to or should do it all on our own. I don’t think we are just made by ourselves and our own effort (I think that's how you get played, actually). I don’t think Philly particularly makes us either (and I’m thankful for that with how the Eagles are playing). I don’t think my alma mater had made me!
What does? Or, rather, Who does? I think we are made by God and in his image. We are “God made,” and made like Him. We have a huge, cosmically transcendent God who loves us and made us personally and cares for us. We may wonder how such an endless God can care about people that are so comparably small. First, we are still his creation, so we aren’t small. But his endlessness is precisely the reason he can care for us. And he empowers to love others too.
He is big and small, in some sense. Jesus, God incarnate, is small and intimate, connected to us personally, but he’s as much God as the Israelite’s pillar of fire.
Circle of Hope is kind of big and small too. We have 57 cells and 4 congregations, in a huge metro. We are doing our part in the Northeast megalopolis. We have many people connected to us, but we form in personal, circles of ten called cells. Those individual cells matter and the people in them matter. They help make up who we are. As I like to say, they are the church.
But it’s hard to think that sometimes. Our elected officials and those campaigning for their offices just make us a vote. Corporations advertising to us, turn us into a figure. It can be hard to find your place. Hard to know that you matter. Now that we have “the hub,” our administrative offices, you may think all things just go through it. Or perhaps Rod, as the Development Pastor, is the big boss. It's actually the opposite. We want to empower the whole church and equip leaders and people. You are among them, undoubtedly.
Let me just reiterate once more. You matter. You are contributing and can contribute to God’s mission and expression in Circle of Hope. Your attention, your participation matters. We need passionate people and leaders. We aren’t run out. That's on purpose, we need partners. We need real dialogue. And you are an important part of that.
Here’s the big idea: we want the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be delivered person-to-person. Explicitly, we don’t want it to come from some an unknowable authority, from a big screen, or from a textbook. It is revealed in the flesh, and we need a lot of people to help get that incarnational movement going. You are not a consumer or a worker, you are an owner. We need a lot of hands on the wheel, so to speak. We want to be and do something even as big as God, but it starts small, with you.
So I hope you will receive my invitation to be a part. If you already consider yourself part, I hope you will stay conscious with us as we extend our hospitality to the next person.