A few years ago, I was working at a church in the Dallas area, and I was chatting with someone about our influence and effectiveness at reaching people through social media. After some quick back-and-forth opinions, he looked at me and ask a simple question:
"Do you know your Klout score?"
Now first of all, you need to understand that this friend was infinitely more cool than me. So I was used to the fact that he would often know plenty of things that were culturally relevant that I was unaware of. And so in a move that was shocking to no one, I told him I had no idea what my "Klout score" was. In fact, I didn't even know what this "Klout" was.
What I learned is that basically, "Klout" is a website that “grades” your social media presence. You link your social media accounts to this website, and it tells you what your “score” is, and how well you reach and engage with people. I was super intrigued by this idea. So I go to their website, and immediately I see on their homepage the phrase:
BE KNOWN FOR WHAT YOU LOVE
I remember seeing that phrase for the first time and thinking to myself, "That's a bold statement to make." I mean, here I am on this website dedicated to analyzing your social media posts, and it is telling me to “Be known for what you love.”
And so it got me thinking about the importance of social media. Because whether we like it or not, at some level, what we post on Social Media is a representation of who we are – Our likes, our passions, our thoughts, our opinions, and the things find valuable enough to tell strangers about.
And so this question kept popping up in my head:
If I died tomorrow, and the only way people could find out what I was passionate about and loved was to look through my Instagram feed, what would they say I was passionate about? What would they say I loved?
So let's take a look at my Instagram account, shall we? (And I challenge you to do the same for yours.)
Based on how I represent myself to the outside world via Instagram, what would you say was important to me? What would you say I love?
- My wife
- My family
- My dog
- My church
I'm sure you could gather a lot of information about me from the things I post on social media. And rightfully so.
Because the way we represent ourselves to the outside world says a lot about who we are.
And so when I started this journey as the North Campus Student Pastor, and I began to think about the future of the Student Ministry, that phrase kept coming up – “Be known for what you love.”
So, who is BSM North? What do we love? What are we passionate about? Why do we do what we do? How do we want to represent ourselves to the outside world?
What do we want to be known for?
Well, it comes down to 3 things:
1. Love God
Sounds easy right? Do some generic religious activity, go to church, pray a few times, and boom! You're on the right track to showing God you love Him, right? Well the reality is, us "Loving God" isn't even the right place to start. We have to realize that God loved us first. Without that as our starting point, we have no grid for us loving Him. Because without Jesus, our story goes something like this:
We are born into sin, and this sin is going to kill us. There's no amount of religious activity you and I can do to change that. There's no amount of works in the world that can save us. By nature, from the day we were born, we're all heading towards eternal death.
Sounds fun right? Luckily there's Good News.
But God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not die, but have eternal life. - John 3:16
Boom. There it is. That's our starting point.
And so, why should we even "Love God" in the first place?
1. Because God loved us first.
2. Because Christ died so that we would have eternal life.
And this reality of God's love changes us. It alters the very fabric of our hearts. Once we understand and truly feel the weight of God's love for us, our hearts respond with unending adoration and thanksgiving.
And as a community of believers, BSM North wants to be known for this. We desire to be a community of people who are known for their love of God because of His love for us.
2. LOVE people
I bet we can all place our finger on a specific moment in time when we were hurt by a person – physically, emotionally, or spiritually. But our call as followers of Jesus is to love one another just as God loved us – without conditions, without hesitancy, and without agenda.
The crazy thing is that Jesus himself says that there are ways for people to know we are His followers.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:34-35
That verse is crazy to me. Because Jesus is saying, "EVERYONE can tell if you truly follow me." Atheists can tell. Your teacher can tell. Your Facebook friend can tell. EVERYONE can tell we are His followers by the way we love other people.
So if we want to be known as people who love God, what do we do? Love people.
3. Change the world
Last words are pretty important. I'm sure if you knew when your last words would be, you would make sure they were deeply profound, and undeniably important. And I believe Jesus believed so as well.
You see, in the last chapter of Matthew, we see Jesus appearing to His disciples one last time before ascending into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God. But before He did, he had one final thing to say:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of age.” - Matthew 28:18-20
So there He was. Jesus – recently crucified, buried in a tomb, and now risen – could say anything He wanted to. He could have marched into Rome, overthrown Caesar, and established His reign right then and there. But He didn't.
He called for His disciples one last time, and spoke His final words before leaving – Go. Make disciples. Baptize them. Teach them. And know I am with you always.
And ever since that moment, that has been our mission.
And so as we carry on through this new season of our Student Ministry, I pray that our people would be passionate about these things. I pray that more than just "Being known for what we love," we would be "Known for WHO we love" – Jesus.
May we be faithful representatives to the outside world as passionate lovers of Jesus, faithful lovers of people, and radical world changers.