We are not a traditional or an established church, but we sometimes call ourselves a new expression of church. The Greek word for “church” used in the New Testament is ecclesia. The word ecclesia literally means “a gathering.” We identify ourselves more as a gathering of people who believe the selfless, self-expending, inclusive love that Jesus taught his first disciples has the power to change the world.

However, we are a part of the Great River Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. This gives us accountability, resources and an opportunity to be a part of something larger than ourselves. The identity statement of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is simple: “We are a movement for wholeness in a fragmented word. We welcome all to the Lord’s table as God has welcomed us.”

Therefore, we see ourselves more as a “gathering” or “movement” of people who simply believe that selfless, self-expending, and inclusive love not only gives our lives meaning and direction, but it has the power to change the world. We also see ourselves as part of a growing movement in the 21st century to recover a way of life that Jesus taught in the first century. 

The Lead Visionary of the movement, Jarrett Banks, is an ordained minister in good standing with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and officiates weddings, funerals, child dedications and baptismal services. With a love for all people, Jarrett is available to visit hospitals, nursing homes and persons who are homebound to offer pastoral care.

When people asked Jesus: “What is the greatest commandment?”  Jesus simply responded: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Just Love was created to help people get back to this simple command. 

We want to bring together a diverse group of people who believe that love (selfless, self-giving, inclusive) is what gives life meaning, purpose and direction, and who believe that such love has the power to change the world.

We recognize that when Jesus commanded his disciples to love their neighbors, he didn’t tell them to build a building and invite people to come once a week to receive some love. He said to go out to the people and love them. Furthermore, buildings cost a lot of money to maintain, heat and cool— money that could be used to make a difference in a community. Thus, we want to gather a group of people who are willing to meet weekly in different places without a building.

Will Just Love ever own a building?  It all depends on the needs of the Northshore communities. Does a community need an emergency shelter for the homeless? Does a community need a food bank, soup kitchen or clothing closet? Does a community need a building to teach literacy or offer some other service? Is there another need? We would only build something to address a need or needs in our communities.

It looks like a dinner party or a family reunion. Some gatherings look like a “pot-luck” or “covered-dish,” whereas some may look like a cook-out or a birthday party. There is no sermon. During the gathering, we may have a discussion of how we can make a difference in the world with the type of love Jesus taught his disciples (all questions, doubts and comments will always respected). We will always work together to include our children and persons with different abilities in our gatherings and projects. At each gathering, there will be an optional opportunity for Communion (Eucharist); however, no one should ever feel pressured to receive Communion, as people of all faiths or of no particular faith are always welcome.

People can work on the service projects individually or together in teams of 2 or more. Examples of service projects may include: washing someone’s laundry, repairs to a home or yard work, visiting someone who is lonely, serving ice-cream in a low-income housing/apartment neighborhood, feeding the food-insecure and/or homeless, building a handicap ramp, activities with the differently-abled, wellness checks, cleaning up a public area, working in a community garden, tutoring, disaster relief…

We welcome all to be a part of our weekly gatherings and service projects though differing in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, political stance or theological perspective. We affirm the gifts of all people celebrating that all are part of God’s good creation. 

Simply believe that selfless love not only gives our lives meaning and direction, but when we come together and share it with others, it has the power to change the world.

No. You can maintain membership in your own religious tradition or not be a member of any tradition. This movement is not about membership or even religion. It is simply about following the way of love the Jesus taught his disciples to follow.

Yes. Just Love is registered under the 501(c)(3) umbrella of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. Just Love is also incorporated with the state of Louisiana as a non-profit.

Just Love was inspired by the earliest account that we have of Jesus sending his disciples out to make a difference in the world. The account is recorded in Mark 6:6-13. The following are some reflections on this account written by Jarrett, the Lead Visionary:

6aAnd he was amazed at their unbelief. 

I wonder if Jesus is still amazed at our unbelief. Having served on a church staff for 30 years, I am often amazed how many in the church today do not seem to believe that we are called to live, love and serve like Jesus.

6bThen he went about among the villages teaching.

Jesus never stayed in one place for very long. He was constantly on the move, going from village to village teaching, healing and restoring. He never set up shop in a building and expected people to come to him.

7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 

Jesus didn’t go on mission trips by himself. He called and gave authority to disciples to go on mission trips and do the things that he did.

8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 

When Jesus sent his disciples out to be the church, he ordered them to travel light, to keep it simple and to stick to the basics. Disciples do not need unnecessary funds or line items, and they do not need to carry any baggage that might slow them down, make them forget about their mission, or enable them to get too comfortable in one particular place. Jesus said that they need to leave some things behind if they want to be his disciples in the world. And notice that Jesus said they are to take no bread. Could that mean that Jesus wants them to go out and share a meal with others? Join a dinner party?

10He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ 

Jesus said disciples can expect failure. If disciples are following Jesus and taking his inclusive love out to the people, they will not be received by everyone. But they should peacefully keep moving and keep doing what they have been called to do.

12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 

Disciples go out and proclaim that all should repent of their selfish, self-centered ways. However, that is difficult to do if the disciples are not willing to repent of their own misguided ways.

13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

Disciples do big things. They stand up and speak out against evil. They restore, and they heal. They are a literal movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.

I believe this account of Jesus sending the disciples out on a mission trip raises several questions for the church today:

  • What if a church’s annual Mission Trip was not just one week a year, but it was 52 weeks a year? What if church itself was a Mission Trip?
  • What if the church truly left the building to move from village to village to teach the selfless, restorative, healing love of God to all people? What if the church stopped talking about getting outside of the walls of the sanctuary and literally had no walls? What if the church taught the love of God, not in one town, but in several towns?
  • What if the church left behind all of its baggage—its old structures, old frameworks, and old models? What if the church left behind its love for the nostalgic memory of the way things used to be? What if the church stopped its pining to return to the good old days, and instead, dreamed new dreams and embraced a new vision, and moved forward into good new days? What if the church simply kept the faith simple by sticking to the basics, like loving others as Jesus loved others?
  • What if the church was a courageous, risk-taking, wall-breaking, peace-making venture that was never afraid of going to new places, even to those places it is not welcomed? What if the the church felt free to move around to multiple locations to do the work they had been called to do?
  • What if the church repented and changed its ways from a selfish faith that focused on going to heaven and receiving a blessing? What if the church embraced a faith that focused on being in the world and being a blessing to the world? What if the church was able to catch a new vision of how to be church, how to be on a mission to follow Jesus wherever he leads it to go?
  • What if the church was a literal, living movement for wholeness in this fragmented world? And what if church was about making new disciples instead of keeping old members happy?


I believe the answer is: “We could change the world!”