What does it mean that Extollo is “Christ-centered”?
As you have seen from our website, emails, and other communication, we often talk about ourselves as “Christ-centered.” Even our About page on the Extollo website states, “Extollo International is a Christ-centered social enterprise that is unleashing Haiti's potential…” So it is clear that we are intentional about using this way of describing ourselves. Why not simply say we are “Christian”?
In short, Christ-centeredness holds more meaning for me than the term “Christian.” This is a much deeper conversation than can be had in a blog post, but for me, for good or for ill, the term “Christian” has lost some of its meaning. As we all probably know, someone can describe themselves as a Christian and yet their life and actions reflect anything but the person of Jesus as revealed in the Gospels. Having the label of Christian does not a Christ-follower make. In short, Christian is a descriptor; Christ-centered is an action. And if you know anything about us, we are action-oriented.
So it is that why we talk about ourselves as Christ-centered is well encapsulated in the Our Belief’s page, right there in the first sentence:
“Our love for and service to Jesus Christ is at the center of all we do.”
Everything about us - who we are, what we do, and why we do what we do, originates from that singular place. This is our center. To us, following Jesus in this work is not part of a brand, an association with a label, or requiring the validation of that label or any institution. It is simply our DNA. This is captured well, I think, by what comes next in Our Belief page:
We value actions above words. We proclaim the love of Christ through our actions and deeds, and through our call to love and care for all people in all situations.
We serve God by serving his children physically, emotionally, and spiritually, specifically through education, training, and economic development in the construction industry.
We follow Jesus’ lead in a preference for those most disadvantaged - orphans, widows, and children - and we strive to use our gifts and talents for their benefit.
Our Christ-centeredness is not about description or affirmation - its about action. As you can see from the list above: loving, proclaiming (through actions and deeds), serving, following, striving. We are much less concerned about labels than we are about following Jesus in our actions, striving to follow his lead in how he engaged with the world, the powers that be, and those directly around him. We know we are not adequate representatives of Jesus but as much as an organization can be and do, we strive to not be simply “Christian” but to center our identity - and thus our actions - in Christ.
As we approach the day we celebrate the coming of Jesus, and reflect on his life that guides, inspires, and centers us, we affirm and celebrate the center of all we are and do.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!