The theme song of the old tv show Cheers tells us that "sometimes you wanna' go where everybody knows your name."
And it's so true. Human beings are wired for relationships, so we naturally seek to belong somewhere, to belong to something where everybody knows our name.
That's why there are all kinds of communities out there to be a part of. There are book club communities, sports team communities, Mommy & Me communities, office communities, neighborhood communities, biker gang communities, mafia communities, bar communities, and many more.
At True Life Church, we are not trying to compete with all those other types of communities and be just another place to belong.
We believe that a church community is meant to be about more than just belonging, although that is an important part of it.
We believe that a church community - if it's a genuine biblical church community - is a community that is centered around and driven by the gospel of Jesus instead of religious practices.
And there is a big difference.
A gospel-centered community is one where everyone can be honest about their struggles and weaknesses and issues, because the gospel says that we all have them. That's why Jesus had to die.
A gospel-centered community is one where, if one person stumbles, another person doesn't say "try harder," because the gospel tells us that trying harder doesn't get us anywhere. The amazing grace of Jesus, which not only saves us but also grows us, is what people point each other toward.
A gospel-centered community is one where the pastor is NOT the CEO of the church who tells everyone what to do without being questioned, because the gospel says there is one head to the church. His name is Jesus.
A gospel-centered community is one where things sometimes get messy, because part of God's plan to grow us includes putting us in situations where we must learn to forgive, to be patient, and to love those who annoy the heck out of us.
A gospel-centered community is one where instead of everyone sitting around trying to build up each other's self-esteem, they seek to build up each other's God-esteem, because true joy and true fulfillment come when we are in awe of how such a holy and mighty God can love us.
A gospel-centered community is one that understands they are on mission together to love and engage a broken world, because that is what Jesus did.
That's the kind of community we are building here. Not a religious one, but a gospel-centered one.