Little kids make up their own words all the time, and my son is no exception to this. The word “disgusting” never comes out of his mouth. He has his own version. It’s more powerful. For him “disgusting” is always “discustic”. Thanks Peppa Pig. But if anything is ever truly unfulfilling and gross to him, you’ll catch the full vent of all his rage because it’s discustic.
So the other day he came in from playing outside where it was well over 100 degrees and asked for some water with no ice (his drink of choice on all occasions), and I happily obliged. One problem. I filled it up really fast from the sink and didn’t realize that hot water was coming out… really hot… like “why can’t the shower get hot this fast, hot.” So when he drinks it his little nose scrunched up and with all his might he yelled, “That’s discustic!” And it was. Right then. Not because hot water is disgusting, but because, right then, it wasn’t what he needed.
There are terms in society that become “junk drawer” expressions. We use them so much and connect so many things to them that we honestly need to define what we mean every time we use them. In the church, it’s no different. Everyone knows specifically what I mean by “Gospel-Centered”, “Contemporary”, or “Purpose-Driven"…? Exactly. Of course we don’t. There’s so much stuff in the drawer with those labels on them that we’ve got no idea what we mean.
Another one of those is the growing use of the expression “life-giving”.
Hear me out, I’m all for being life-giving (and gospel-centered, contemporary, and purpose driven for that matter… I think, ha). In fact, there’s an amazing book that defines quantitatively what it means to be life-giving; however, we’ve used it so much to bring clarity to so many things that I think most of us have no idea what it means.
Life-giving church. Life-giving small groups. Life-giving worship. Life-giving ministry. Life-giving outreach. Life-giving pets… ok, that’s impossible, but you get my point.
On top of that, "life-giving" is somewhat subjective… cause a hot drink warms you up and gives you life on a cold day, but on a hot one, it’s discustic.
Being a life-giving church is subjective
to where you are.
I believe to be life-giving is to customize yourself to your community. Life-giving in the city looks different than it does in the ‘burbs. Life-giving in country looks different than it does in the hood. Yeah, some qualities transcend communities, but some must be tailor made; otherwise, by copying someone else’s “life-giving strategy” you could find yourself doing something that tastes discustic to the people in your hood… or planned development… or farm… you get the point.
For us at BELIEVING, there are three words that embody what we feel being life-giving looks like in our city. They’re simple, but in our neck-of-the-woods, we believe they will bring life. You see, we want to passionately, creatively, and tangibly communicate the love of Jesus throughout our city so that people far from God might believe in God.
Passionate. Creative. Tangible. …and we’ll talk more about each of those next time.