Belonging Happens Before Believing Happens Before Behaving

  • We ask people to believe in something before they belong to it. Jesus asked his followers to belong to his movement before he asked them to believe. He understood that belief is not a set of propositions to give ascent to, but a person to know, love and then obey. Jesus approached building his community the opposite way that most of us do today. He invited people to join him before they understood his mission or who he was. He was inviting them into intimacy, into friendship with him. They were part of a community.
  • This truth reminds us that people buy into the leader or the community before they buy into the vision or beliefs of the leader or community. Belonging precedes believing precedes behaving. Being loved and accepted comes before changing our behavior.
  • If leaders lead a life of love and integrity and the community exudes love that is genuine, people will go on the journey, they will walk a pathway with the community that leads to change in their lives.
  • The movement Jesus started was radically different from the religious legalism and control of his day. Religion has a nasty way of messing up relationship. Neither top down hierarchy nor rules that govern people