Many churches, even really good ones, have mastered the believe-and-become-before-you-belong paradigm of accepting people into their fellowship. We say: choose to believe what we believe, become like us in your behavior, and then you can belong here. One day, Mike Clarensau asked himself the question: "What if we put belonging first, like Jesus did?" Christ welcomed people to follow Him without proclamations of faith or fruits of repentance. When Mike acted on that thought, his view of people changed, and his church set about loving people unconditionally. The congregation put belonging ahead of believing and becoming. When it did, people's lives and the life of the church were powerfully transformed-and more than a few got saved.
Mike Clarensau served for ten tears as senior pastor of Maranatha Worship Center in Wichita, Kansas and now is senior director of the Healthy Church Network for the Assemblies of God. He is the author of 14 books.