Western culture has set up a progress-based system for advancing toward God.
Let me explain. For a long time Christians have been taught a three-step approach to God. It starts with belief. Essentially, if you believe the right things, it will lead to a change in behavior. When you have changed your behavior, you will be accepted by the church. Believe, Behave, Belong.
If you believe this way, you will behave this way, and if you behave this way, you can belong here. This is preached, modeled, and affirmed in thousands of churches across America.
It’s time to flip this. The Jesus of scripture reached out and loved people regardless of where they were. It is essential to show people that they can belong in your world even if they don’t act, think, behave, or believe like you.
Imagine a church or community where Jesus was communicated in such a way that everyone belonged. They were included. And from this feeling of belonging, over time the message of Jesus made an impact on their belief. And from that newfound fullness of God, their behavior changed. (Belong, Believe, Behave.)
If this practice won out over religious dogma, rooted in rules and regulations, more people would find hope in the authentic Christ.
from “Jesus Loves You this I know” by Craig Gross and Jason Harper