Some of you know our Jesus Creed project now can tap into all the major ages of church ministry: children, teens, adults, and a daily devotional, as well as Paraclete’s fine production of a CD for Sunday School classes. Some 4000 churches have used one or more of these dimensions of the Jesus Creed. Recently, Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church and I have decided to dialogue about how the Jesus Creed project works in local churches. This post, by Brad Strait, pastor at CCPC, kicks off a series of posts on the Jesus Creed at the church level.
To our CCPC leadership
Why read a book together?
In a large church, we’re always looking for ways to bring everyone together as “one Body.” God has set a high target for his people: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! … For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore” (Ps. 133). Cherry Creek seeks to reflect this in several of our core values: “To be a community of complete worshipers,” “To be tangibly connected in love,” and “To be intergenerational.” This is biblical, counter-cultural Christianity. It stands in opposition to the modern pull to fragment us by age groups, education, personal preferences, etc., into what many are calling “modern tribes.” To help fashion this unity, starting this week our entire church—children, youth, and adults—will begin reading Scot McKnight’s book, The Jesus Creed. As well, for the next seven weeks my Bible preaching text will follow the book and classes will be discussing what they have read and learned. We will immerse ourselves in Mark 12 and Matt. 22. We want The Jesus Creed to give us a deeper understanding of the particular Scriptures about which Jesus says, “These commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them” (Matt. 22:40).
The leadership chose The Jesus Creed, winner of Christianity Today’s Best Book of the Year, for two reasons. First it has a clear and compelling biblical message centered on Jesus’ core doctrine, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And the second one is: love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-40, Mark 12:29-31, Luke10:27). Our hope is that a deep look at one of the most important passages in the Bible will help us grow both closer to God and to his people. This dovetails wonderfully with our vision statement: “Seeking the Christ-Centered Life Together.” Secondly, Dr. McKnight, as Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary and the author/editor of over fifty books, has created well-written, age-appropriate materials and DVDs to allow all of our church to join in the discussion. The companion book for children, Sharing God’s Love by his daughter Laura, is #1 for Amazon in Children’s Christian Ministry. We will do this together.
Blogging Questions and Answers?
We are privileged that each week Dr. McKnight and I will have some blog dialogue about The Jesus Creed and our progress at Cherry Creek. Scot will answer some questions that come up. You can find this discussion on my blog “Celtic Straits” on bstrait.wordpress.com. If you have questions to suggest for me to ask Scot, please email them to me at email@example.com or put them in my office box.