In the business world, there are some companies that tell you WHAT they do, and there are others that tell you WHY they do it. Author Simon Sinek breaks down these concepts in his book, Start With Why. (And you can see his TED talk in the video following the post).
The same can be said of churches. Some churches tell you what they do. When you drive by their building, you'll see a sign that says they meet every Sunday. Their church website tells you that they have several campuses throughout the city. Church staff and leaders are happy to boast of a sizable membership roll. Church members are delighted to tell you that they worship in your favorite musical style, and so on and so forth.
But how many churches tell you WHY they do WHAT they do? Isn't that what you really want to hear? Don't you want to know why this particular church exists in the first place?
So, in the hopes of being transparent, we want to practice what we preach and tell you why Peace Tree exists. By the end of this blog post, we hope you'll know WHY we do what we do. First, we love God because God first loved us. We believe that God sent Christ to model birth, life, death, and resurrection for us. We also believe that God is a God of love. If you know what it means to love and to be loved, then ultimately it means that you have experienced God and can know God.
This why our community exists: to Love God. We've done nothing to earn God's love, and we honestly don't deserve God's love. But it's been freely given, fully and unconditionally. So we thank God everyday and we love God in return.
So, how do we do 'Love God' exactly? We love God by loving others. It means loving our neighbors as ourselves. It means treating someone the way we want to be treated. It means serving others with kindness, and generosity, and decency. Jesus spoke about the two greatest commandments: first, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength; second, love your neighbor as yourself. We've adopted this as our mission statement: Love God by Loving Others. It's WHY we do WHAT we do, and loving our neighbors is HOW we do it.
So, WHAT is it that we do? We do Church. We live together and share our lives with one another. We eat meals together, tell stories from our past, work together to serve our neighbors, and we worship God by studying the Bible and challenging one another to apply its lessons to our everyday lives.
Notice I said that we DO church, not that we 'Go To Church.' There's a big difference. Church is not a building; Church is people! Yes, we meet together, but the location, day of the week, and time of day can differ, and that's okay. In fact, that's what makes Church exciting for us. Church happens whenever people gather together in any location to love God and follow Christ together. In short, Church Can Happen Anywhere.
Right now we gather as the Church in people's homes and in local restaurants. We 'Do Church' every time we hold a community event in a public park, or volunteer at a local fundraiser, or sign kids up for summer camp.
At Peace Tree, we love God by loving others, so we decided that the best way to live out this mission was by planting a new faith community, a new church, and to start this adventure in Collierville, TN. During our House Group gatherings, we go deep with our faith and ask tough questions in regards to our spiritual walks with Christ, whether we're taking the first steps or have been on the path for most of our lives.
We've been going deep and God is building a sure foundation for Peace Tree, and now we feel like God is calling us to go wide with our faith, to reach the curious, those who are looking for something meaningful, and those who've decided to give Church a second-chance. We think we can accomplish this by bringing our House Groups together to be the Church in a rented space where we can meet on a monthly basis and hopefully welcome some newcomers. This is a tall task, so we're asking for help.
We most certainly are praying for God's help in everything we do. But we also are praying for God to send us workers who will go out into the harvest with us. We believe that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. If we can add a few good women and men to our team, then we'll be in a more secure position as we launch a Large Group worship celebration to complement our weekly House Group gatherings.
In addition to praying for God's help, we're also asking for your help. We know that God is nudging some of you in Peace Tree's direction, and we want to encourage you to explore God's calling.
You know WHY we're planting Peace Tree (we love God and we love our neighbors), and you know HOW and WHAT we are working towards (we host community events and gather in homes & restaurants as a new Church trying to reach new people in our community). So, if you feel like you're being called to work alongside us, to love and serve everyone you meet, to build community and friendships while we all seek to be more like Christ, then contact us today. Seriously, stop what you're doing and email me, text me, or Facebook message me. No one belongs here more than you, and we're excited to see how God is gonna use you and us to offer Christ to a hurting world.
+Peace and Love from Pastor Kris
Follow the journey of a new church as we answer the call to reach people in Collierville, Memphis, and the Mid-South.