The bestselling book, The Love Dare, has been used of God to strengthen my marriage. I cherish those 40 days that Nellie Jo and I read the dare for the day and the Scripture that accompanied each day. Each dare challenged us to do something for the other. It took the focus off our own needs and desires and caused us to focus on each other. Each day reminded us that the agape love of marriage is a selfless and giving love.
Johnny Hunt, my friend and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has challenged our denomination to "Love Loud." Sadly many times our denomination is more known for its acrimonious spirit rather than the love of Christ. Likewise, many of our churches are not known in their communities for being churches that consistently demonstrate gentleness, kindness, and love.
Merging Two Great Ideas
I love the spirit of both concepts. In fact, wouldn't it be great if our churches could take both of the ideas and challenge their congregations? What would God do if we "dared" our church members to love loudly? What would our communities see if we put the love of Christ in action with a significant number of our members?
The possibilities intrigue me.
The potential excites me.
Taking the Love Loud Dare
Imagine, if you will, a simple eight-day challenge to get our churches more focused on loving loudly. With apologies for my lack of creativity, the challenge could look something like the following.
Day 1, Sunday. The congregation is given a simple one-page sheet of the Love Loud Dare. The pastor preaches a message on the love of Christ. The church devotes a time of prayer for the week to follow. Members are asked to email their stories to the church as the week unfolds. Members are reminded that the dare of each day is for them to show love to those outside the church.
Day 2, Monday. The dare for this day is simply to call or visit someone and to offer prayer for them. Just let them know that your church was focusing on praying for people in the community and their name came to your mind.
Day 3, Tuesday. Write a card or note to someone in the community to thank them for what they do: police, firefighters, community leaders, etc. If possible, deliver the note personally.
Day 4, Wednesday. Send a note or card anonymously to someone in the community with a small gift, such as a $5 or $10 gift card. Let them know that the small gift is a reminder to them that someone is praying for them and cares about them.
Day 5, Thursday. Do an act of service for someone in the community. It does not have to be complicated. Perhaps you could deliver a bottle of cold water to someone you see working outside.
Day 6, Friday. Do an act of service in the community itself . For example, take 10 or 15 minutes a pick up trash in town or in your neighborhood.
Day 7, Saturday. Say a kind word to someone in the community. Make certain you offer encouragement with genuine words.
Day 8, Sunday. As a part of the worship service, celebrate what God has done through His people. Read a few of the emails submitted throughout the week. Then encourage the people to develop a lifestyle where they learn to love loudly.
From the Heart, Not a Gimmick
The danger in a Love Loud Dare is that it could be just another activity of the church, a one-week flurry of good deeds that has little sincerity or follow-up. But the upside of the week is that Christians could truly have a heart change to love more loudly. They will see how the love of Christ through them can transform lives, including their own.
The Love Dare strengthened my marriage. Love Loud Dare could strengthen our churches.
It's worth the effort.