If they were writing this post, my pragmatic church planting friends would have made sure the word “Team” were somewhere in the title. I devote many pages in my Momentum book to the critical factor of who you have around you if you aim to go anywhere with God. I tried to figure a way to sneak in the words “steady” and “longevity” because there is nothing better than steady people around you who are there for the long haul.

The poster child for this in my life, aside from Kristen, is Pastor Dennis. I wish I wasn’t so opposed to human cloning because I’d like to clone him – faithful, steady, always right there, and smiling.

This past year at Church at the Gate, in multiple settings and venues, repeatedly and on purpose, our equipping pastor Don Parsons and I have unpacked his Mature Love diagram (below, but I’ll walk you through it first using words). Basically the cycle of growth in love begins as we are aware we are all different and that at some point different people have conflict. Conflict isn’t a sign something is wrong (or that someone is wrong and someone is right), this isn’t something to avoid or run from, or ignore as if all is well, it’s simply the unavoidable and only path to true oneness and mature love.

Conflict, of course, results in separation and this, sadly, is where most people part ways. So many in the Body of Christ never enter into mature love because we bail on each other and leave the church or whatever. Aren’t you glad Jesus didn’t wiggle off the cross and walk off offended when it got hard for him to love us? Pastor Don has been teaching us about the culture of the cross and what the culture of the cross affects in the atmosphere of our relationships.

The only way past this impasse of conflict and separation and on to mature love is through repentance and humility. Jesus did it, he laid his life down. There is no other way. Repentance and humility open the door to reconciliation and reconciliation takes us to unity and oneness.  It’s at this point we really enter into higher levels of maturity in our love. There is no greater level of mature love except that which is reached taking this path (of laying your life down). And mature love is only evident when we embrace those who are different/difficult- whereby the cycle begins again and we GET TO grow in love even more. Immaturity in love is evident when we take ourselves out of this process with people God has put in our lives.

Here it is visually and I’ll produce a follow up post shortly to unpack this further in light of some of what I’m uncovering here in the epicenter of where the Christendom split in two.