During this Serve Dei season, we are continuing to explore what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus on mission, and we have now come to the area of Inclusive Community. So far, we had talked about being an Intentional Blessing, which involves finding ways in which we can give of our time, talent and treasures. We have also explored what it means to be Culturally Engaged.
Inclusive Community is about inviting and including other people in our lives, specifically those who do not know the Lord yet. It involves being open and vulnerable and takes intentionality to develop these relationships.
In this past season, I have had the chance to wrestle with what it means to live in Inclusive Community.
John, a disciple of Jesus has helped me to understand the idea of Inclusive Community more clearly:
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” - John 1:12
This passage helped me to see that on the Cross, God didn’t just forgive me. He invited me in and includes me in His own family. Realizing that I have been included in God’s community, I now have the passion and motivation to invite others into my life to have Inclusive Community.
This idea hit home as I debated for the Fresno State team. During the season, I had developed a relationship with my coach and his family. On Valentine’s Day, his son was making Valentine’s cards at school. Everyone was having a great time, but he was especially excited. He went around telling everyone, “I know who we are making cards for! I know the real Valentine for who the holiday was made. He goes to Fresno State!” Every time my coach shares that story, we get lots of laughs out of it because of my name.
But it has also helped me to realize something important. Inclusive Community can happen in ordinary ways when we open our lives to others. As we invest in "The One" - one moment, one conversation, one relationship - we can begin to discover the power of Inclusive Community.
Christ has welcomed us into His life. Now we get the opprotunity to welcome others into our life so they can see, hear and experience the love of God through us.