Our Purpose Is Giving Love Away [Todd]

Friday, October 09, 2009
I have this flu that is going around, I think. For one thing, I feel terrible and for another thing I slept for an hour and a half Thursday...during the day. Um...not normal.

Nearly every time I get sick and am too worn down to do my normal work I end up with a book of Henri Nouwen's in my hand. Nouwen was one of the great spiritual writers of the last century, who died too young in 1996. He was a professor, Catholic priest, and spiritual advisor who gave the prime of his life to working in a community home for the mentally and physically challenged - L'Arche, in Toronto. His books touched and influenced millions, including me. Part of what made his writing so powerful was that he combined great wisdom with true vulnerability - a rare combination. I go back to them all the time.

I am re-reading Sabbatical Journey, his journals from his last year, the last entry written only three weeks before he died of a heart attack. You can buy it here.

At one point, almost as an aside comment, Nouwen defines his vocation - the purpose of his life - in this one phrase: "to announce God's love for all people".

I love that. A complex life, lived by a complex man who wore many hats - academic, writer, lecturer, spiritual director, pastor, mentor, celebrity. But he was able to distill the essence of his calling down to one crystal clear phrase.

Next Level Church aspires to that same degree of clarity. Our mission is simple: To help everyone we encounter take their next step in their relationship with God. We live out this mission through three core values: Connecting People to God; Living Life Together; and Giving Ourselves Away.

Ever since our (very) humble beginnings four years ago, that last phrase - "Giving Ourselves Away" - has been at our core. At one of our Sunday night meetings with about thirty people (yep, four years ago we met on Sunday nights and there were about thirty people, give or take, there) one of our leaders said "What if we were known as the church that was all about giving itself away? What if we were known in our community that way? What if we honored God by being 'that church'?

That is still at the heart of our vision.

The Give:Love Project is our most concrete expression of Giving Ourselves Away. In a world and a community of such need we want to focus not only on meeting the needs of our own people but of those folks who are not yet and may never be our people.

And that is what Give:Love Away 2009 is all about.

One day.

Five challenges.

To change a church, a community, a school, the lives of single moms and their kids.

To transform the spiritual landscape of a major city.

If you are an NLC person or one who believes in what we are about I know you are joining me in praying and scheming to bring your very best and most sacrificial gift on Sunday.

Because that is our purpose - Giving Love Away.

©Copyright 2011 Next Level Church | Blog | TNB