The main attraction

Psalm 139:13-18

To know Christ and to make Christ known.

That’s a familiar mission statement for churches. And I love it! It encompasses two important aspects of what it means to follow Christ. The first is to know Christ in a way you can understand more fully who he is. What made him tick? What ticks him off? 

Maybe you’ve heard people say they hate religion but love Jesus. That’s an unnecessary division for me. 

It’s true you can be religious without actually knowing Christ. Sometimes it feels like the church’s struggles stem from that. But you don’t need to hate religion. How you live out your faith in Jesus is, by definition, your religion. Ensure your religious practices help you know Christ.

The second aspect is the good-news-to-tell-you approach to life of Christians. We want to make Christ known. It’s engrained into who we are. Yes, at times we’ve taken the wrong approach to that. Some of that relates to the first problem. If what you preach doesn’t align with what you practice, who wants to listen to you?

Over the years, I’ve taken a more subtle approach to how I make Christ known. In church ministry speak, we call it the attractional approach to ministry. Build it and they will come, so to speak. That’s what most Christians today are familiar with. To be fair, that technique worked for us for a while. And I don’t mean to suggest we shouldn’t invite people to our events any more.

But how many of us feel bombarded by advertising and media? The noise of culture is loud. Focusing on making Christ known through attractional models only comes with a risk. We just might lose the substance of what it means to lift high the cross. 

So, knowing Christ remains our first priority. As a people of God, that’s how we both know Christ and make Christ known. Who we are as a result of knowing Christ becomes the attraction. In today’s brief passage, the psalmist offers three ways to do that. There are others, of course, but the first is praise. Put aside your worship preferences. Seek to know Christ fully through your daily worship. And know the difference between that and merely “going to church.” 

Also, reflect on how you experience God’s presence. What moments in the day, what words of scripture or answers to prayer speak to your heart? Think on them. As you ponder God’s goodness, you fuel your praise. Rinse and repeat.

Finally, as God’s people and as a believer yourself, choose to keep following Christ. Make choices that shepherd spiritual maturity and greater understandings of God’s grace. When you awake each day, the new mercies of God are already with you. Make it your desire to remain with God.

Stay blessed…john