Monday, October 31, 2005


The Seattle Seahawks have not lived up to expectations. When they hired Super Bowl Champion Coach Mike Holmgren away from the Green Bay Packers, a lot of people thought that the Seahawks would become an overnight sensation. Not so. At least not yet. What’s gone wrong? Running back Shaun Alexander has an idea:

“When Coach came here, he was called the Genius, and I think he was shocked the team didn’t fall in behind him right away. The thing with this generation of players is that even if you’re the smartest coach in history – and coach H is right there – you have to love us first. Then we’ll follow you.”

There’s an old saying that “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Even rough, tough football players need to know that they are loved.

Twenty-first century leadership theory emphasizes the “vision thing” but God emphasized “the love thing.” Love is the distinctive quality of followers of Jesus Christ: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love is the primary quality we want to exhibit at Christ the King Community Church. Our mission is “to create an authentic Christian community that effectively reaches out to unchurched people in love, acceptance and forgiveness, so that they may experience the joy of salvation and a purposeful life of discipleship.” CTK leaders should exemplify love. Do the people who are following you know that they are loved by you?

It is common for people to be loved, but not feel loved. So if we love our people, we’ve got to act like it. Ross Campbell wrote a book called “How to Really Love Your Child” in which he outlines three things we can do to help others feel loved.

1. Maintain Eye Contact

When you talk with people before or after a service, do you look at them? I had someone give me this report on a pastor who is no longer in our network (could be cause and effect here): “When you were talking to him, he was always looking over your shoulder, as if he was looking for someone else to talk with.” I know it is not always easy to stay present in a conversation, but when we don’t, people do not feel loved. Be available, and communicate that with your eyes.

2. Physical contact

Touch can almost always be used effectively to communicate love. A pat on the back, a firm handshake, an appropriate hug, or a light, brief touch on the shoulder, back or arm can mean more than words can say. I recommend only a one-armed hug with members of the opposite sex. But don’t be too afraid to literally touch folks for Jesus.

3. Focused Attention

Focused attention often boils down to one word: time. Some pastors never have time for their people. They are “too busy” to counsel, or pray, or visit. If so, they really are too busy. Spend time with your sheep, and call attention to the positive character qualities you see. As Coach John Wooden said, “Catch them doing something right.”

Of course, to love your sheep, you have to actually love your sheep. If you don’t (and occasionally you won’t), you’ll need to talk with God about that. Love comes from God (1 John 4:7). We can’t do it without God helping us. But that’s part of what makes pastoring so much fun. “If God can get it through us, he can get it to us.”

When was the last time that you told those under your care that you love them?

How are you showing them?

Are you special? Personally, I think you are. But it depends on who you listen to.

A recent news story told of humans on exhibit at the London Zoo – “three male and five female homo sapiens.” The article concluded with chemist Tom Mahoney opining “A lot of people think humans are above other animals. When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we’re not that special.”

I would like to appeal to humanists to consider whether or not Mahoney’s point of view (and attendant theoretical framework) values people the way they’d like to. If they really want to value humanity, they should consider a Christian worldview.

The reason I think caging humans is a bad idea is that I believe human life is indeed a very special form of life, distinct from other kind of life – created in the image of God.

Do you feel special? I hope you do. But whether you feel special or not may depend on whether you believe you were created special or not.

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