Every follower of Jesus should desire to know God at a deeper level and to make Him known. But is it possible that one more desire needs to be added to those two? And is it possible that this other desire may actually be the most difficult? Pastor Jeff Jackson thinks so.
I’m one of those people that enjoys, appreciates, and openly declares the value of a good motto, slogan, or tag-line.
In fact, I’m on a constant look-out for them.
But that’s not all.
When I find a good one, I also examine how well and that organization’s motto, slogan, or tag-line actually represents what they do and/or how they do it in the real world.
Many churches use a slogan or a phrase or two to express their vision and I think that’s a good idea.
I’ve also learned by experience that the process necessary for the leadership of a church to create and then adopt and begin promoting a motto, slogan, or tag-line is incredibly healthy and I highly recommend it.
Of all the slogans for various ministries that I’ve heard, my favorite has always been the one for YWAM.
I’m fairly sure Loren Cunningham didn’t invent it. He probably heard it from someone else, but the reality is that for more than 50 years, YWAM’s tag-line has been:
To know God and to make Him known!
For years, I thought that you just couldn’t get much simpler or clearer than that.
That statement, in my opinion, is pretty much the GPS that every believer, not just a Christian organization or church should be navigating by.
I don’t really think it needs to be messed with…..but……I’ve come to the conclusion that another few words might be helpful to add.
The few words that I would add are the result of some of the things I’ve learned through being a cross-cultural missionary in a country outside the U.S.A. and through a intensive ministry to refugees that have been resettled to the U.S.A.
These few additional words are also the result of many talks I’ve had with my youngest daughter and her friends and other people around 25 and younger.
The common theme among all of the people I just mentioned is that they are looking at people that claim to follow Jesus and measuring whether they want to know more, NOT by what those Jesus followers say about God but by how much those Jesus followers are willing to divulge about who they themselves really are in a meaningful relationship/friendship.
In other words, transparency, vulnerability, authenticity, and honesty, are what these people desire to see and hear from us before they choose to give any validity to our message.
So, here’s how I personally have updated YWAM’s slogan for myself:
I exist to glorify God by Knowing Him and making Him known by intentionally opening myself up to be known. In other words:
To know God and make Him known…by letting myself be known.
Letting yourself be known isn’t comfortable, isn’t accomplished in a few minutes, and is always humbling.
But it’s worth it.
Our God let Himself be known through His Son–not just by the words His Son spoke, but by the day in, day out living of life.
Our Lord was transparent, vulnerable, authentic, and honest in His day-to-day life and interaction with His disciples and others He came in contact with. He knew God and made God known by letting Himself be known. (See John 12:27,28 as just one example).
And one last thought for pastors and church leaders, and missionaries.
If this is crucial in our interaction with those who don’t know Him, how much more crucial is it for us to be that way with those who do know Him?
We may be all of those things in the pulpit with our words and stories, but are we that way with our church leaders, our church members, our fellow missionaries?
If we’re only that way in the pulpit or when we’re teaching a bible study, but won’t let ourselves be known outside of those contexts, then how effectively are we really making Him known?
Most of us have proven that we will go to great lengths and great distances to make Him known.
But are we willing to go as far as making known who we really are to those we interact with?