I was on the phone the other day with a friend of mine in Kansas City who’s also a pastor. It was great to reconnect and share the update that always goes with a far-too-infrequent phone call with an old friend.
One of the greatest things about my friend Dan is that he has this uncanny ability to ask great questions. Not just the “how ARE you?” question…but the question behind the question that makes you really unpack what’s going on. As we were talking about church stuff, I began to share the excitement that people—college students in particular—seem to have about Restoration. Dan was graciously listening, and then asked:
“So what do you think it is about Restoration that is really capturing these folks?”
To be honest, the question sort of caught me off guard…in a good way. I sort of stumbled into an answer. But the more I talked, the more it really became clear to me:
We just love them.
I talked a little about our DNA—that we believe in giving our lives away for the sake of others. I talked about Young Life and how critical our connection is because that relationship infuses Restoration with a sense of mission and a definite heart for students and families who don’t know Jesus. I related how, in southwest Virginia, so often “church” is about religious obligation, and how Restoration was offering something real and different and life-giving. But again, it really all boils down to this:
We want to love people like Jesus.
In a world where people are going 1,000 mph in a million different directions, where our culture has become so self-focused and distracted—and increasingly lonely because of it—Restoration is a community of people who want to and are at least trying to love people well. Like Jesus.
There are, of course, many other things that we are becoming as people and as a church. And we’ll continue to grow in all of them together. But if we had one thing to get right, I’d say we’re on the right track.
Grateful for you all,