I’m one of those people that appreciates, enjoys, and openly declares the value of a good motto or slogan. I’m always on the look out for not only a “catchy” motto or slogan, but one that also truly represents how that organization actually operates on day to day basis in the real world.
Many churches use a slogan or a phrase or two to express their vision and I’m all good with that. In fact, I’ve learned that the process necessary for the leadership of a church to create and then adopt and begin promoting a motto/slogan is incredibly healthy and I highly recommend it.
Of all the slogans for various ministries that I’ve heard, my favorite has always been the one for YWAM. I’m fairly sure Loren Cunningham didn’t invent it, that he probably heard it from someone else, but for more than 50 years, YWAM’s catchphrase has been to: To know God and to make Him known!
For years, I thought that you just couldn’t get much simpler or clearer than that. That statement, in my opinion, is pretty much the GPS that every believer, not just a Christian organization, should be navigating life by. I don’t really think it needs to be messed with…..but……I’ve come to the conclusion that another few words might be helpful to add.
The few words that I would add are the result of some of the things I’ve learned in our ministry to refugees here in Phoenix, talks with my youngest daughter and her friends and other 25 and under people that I know here in Phoenix and that younger generation that I’ve read about in various books about ministry to them.
The common theme among the people I just mentioned is that they are looking at people that claim to follow Jesus and measuring whether they want to know more, NOT by what those Jesus followers say about God but by how much those Jesus followers are willing to divulge about who they themselves really are in a meaningful relationship/friendship. In other words, transparency, vulnerability, authenticity, and honesty, are what these people desire to see and hear from us before they choose to give any validity to our message.
So, here’s how I personally have updated YWAM’s slogan for myself: I exist to glorify God by Knowing Him and making Him known by opening myself up to be known. In other words: To know God and make Him known…by letting myself be known.
Letting yourself be known isn’t comfortable, isn’t accomplished in a few minutes, and is always humbling. But it’s worth it. Our God let Himself be known through His Son…not only by the words His Son spoke, but the day in, day out living of life. Our Lord was transparent, vulnerable, authentic, and honest in day to day life and all those He interacted with in that life. He knew God and made God known by letting Himself be known.
And one last thought. If this is crucial in our interaction with those who don’t know Him, how much more crucial is it for us to be that way with those who do know Him? We may be all of those things in the pulpit, with our words and stories, but are we that way with our church leaders and our church members? If we’re only that way in the pulpit, but won’t live that way in real relationship with staff, leaders, or church members, how effectively are we really making Him known?