I could tell Christians were different the first time I met them. I noticed with surprise that as they asked me questions, they seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me.
Over time, these friends became family. They prayed with me, had meals with me, showed up to cheer me on at my choir concerts, and changed their schedules so they could study the Bible with me to help me build my own relationship with God.
I gradually opened up to these friends about things in my life I wasn’t proud of—my sins, mistakes, and weaknesses. Much to my surprise, they still liked me and accepted me. Knowing that people could love and accept me at my worst helped me believe that God could too.
Love is powerful, and love changes lives, just like it changed mine. That’s why one of the most important “materials” we can use to build God’s church is love:
What is really needed to build the church is love.
– 1 Corinthians 8:1 TLB
When I think about “building,” I think about hard work, like hammers, nails, and backbreaking labor. But when it comes to building God’s kingdom, having the heart of a builder actually means having a heart full of God’s love. This is what Jesus taught and how Jesus built:
“And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
– John 13:34-35 TLB
This helps me understand that every decision I make to love God, love my family, and love other people matters. God is loving, and as we build loving homes and loving relationships, we bring God’s love to the world around us.
Why love matters so much
The pandemic has worsened what many already considered a loneliness epidemic in America; a 2021 study from Harvard found that 36% of American adults feel “serious loneliness,” including 61% of young adults and 51% of mothers of young children.
Statistics like these help me understand why Jesus commanded us to love. As a mother of a young child myself, it moves me to think that half of the mothers I see at playgrounds and restaurants feel serious loneliness. I may not have solutions to the world’s problems, but one thing I can do is make someone not feel lonely.
People need love. As we love one another the way Jesus loved us we shine a bright light in a lonely world, ultimately guiding people to the source of this genuine love—God himself.
Building loving homes and house churches
One way we can give our friends, family, and neighbors the opportunity to experience the love of God is by building loving homes and house churches in every neighborhood around the Bay.
This year, we transitioned from large midweek services to local “Let’s Talk Nights,” where groups of friends meet in houses and backyards every week to read the Bible and build each other’s faith.
“Let’s Talk” Nights and house church relationships provide opportunities to invite friends into God’s family, and to work together to serve our communities in our own unique way.
Builders in the Bible: Priscilla & Aquila
For some inspiration about building the Kingdom by building family, check out the story of Priscilla and Aquila in the book of Acts.
They played a significant role in building the early church because they had a loving home and loving relationships. They opened their home to the apostle Paul as he brought the message of Jesus to the city of Corinth, and later they used their home as a place the church could come together. As a married couple, they were always mentioned together in the Bible—teaching us that their love for others flowed from a loving marriage.
For more on Priscilla and Aquila, check out the following passages of the Bible:
- Acts 18
- Romans 16
- 1 Corinthians 16:19
- 2 Timothy 4:19
The churches in Asia Minor send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly because of the Lord’s love. So does the church that meets in their house.
– 1 Corinthians 16:19 NIrV
I’m excited to work on building a heart of love together, and seeing how this love changes lives.