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I was recently part of an international gathering of Christian leaders and thinkers who met in Wittenberg, Germany, to discuss the state of Christianity. The setting could not have been more apropos. It was there that Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 theses to the doors of the Castle Church.

Our three-day conversation, which culminated on Reformation Day, revolved around this question: Do we need another reformation? The short answer is yes. Every generation does. Every generation needs its Martin Luthers, its Wittenbergs and its 95 theses.

But I don’t think the next reformation will look anything like the last reformation. A single person won’t lead it. A single event won’t define it. The last reformation was a reformation of creeds. The next reformation will be a reformation of deeds.

The last reformation was symbolized by one central figure. The next reformation will be led by millions of reformers living compassionately, creatively and courageously for the cause of Christ. It will be marked by broken hearts and sanctified imaginations. And the driving force will be the love of God. A love that is full of compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy.

No one knows where a reformation will begin or who will lead it. It often happens in unlikely places and is led by unlikely people. And a monk named Martin Luther was as unlikely a candidate as anybody.

In the fall of 1516, Luther was teaching through the book of Romans at the University of Wittenberg when he came to this scripture: “The just shall live by faith.” He experienced a theological tipping point. He said, “This passage of Paul became to me the gate of heaven.” And the rediscovery of a simple truth—sola fide, by faith alone—became the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation.

Our Generation’s Rediscovery

Now let me make an all-important observation. Reformations are not born out of new discoveries. Those are often called cults. Reformations are born out of rediscovering something ancient, something primal. They are born out of primal truths rediscovered, reimagined and radically reapplied to our lives.

So what does our generation need to rediscover? What primal truth needs to be reimagined? What is our reformation?

Simply put, we’ve got to be great at the Great Commandment. Anything less isn’t good enough. Or, I should say, great enough.

We must not succeed at the wrong thing. We must not invest our earthly lives in things that have no heavenly value. We must not be great at things that do not matter. We have to be great at what matters most. And what matters most is loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

When you descend the flight of stairs into the soul of Christianity and everything is stripped away but its primal essence, what you’re left with is the Great Commandment. Just as the medieval church rediscovered justification by faith, so our generation must rediscover the Great Commandment. The rallying cry of the last reformation was “Sola fide.” The rallying cry of the next reformation is “Amo Dei.” Translation: “Love God.”

Learning to Love God … and Others

Most of us have a natural bent toward one of the four dimensions of love. Think of it as your “spiritual love language.” Maybe compassion comes easily because of the pain you’ve experienced in your own life. Or maybe your love language is wonder. You feel closer to God in the middle of creation than the middle of a church service.

For some it’s curiosity. Your spirit soars when your mind is stretched by a “God idea.” And for others, it’s energy. You feel most fulfilled when you break a sweat for a kingdom cause.

Every relationship with God begins in the same way: at the foot of the cross. But then our lives become unique expressions of compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy. And no one else can take your place. The way we love God will look very different based on our spiritual love language.

My primary spiritual love language is curiosity. I love learning new things. That’s how I come alive. That’s when I feel like I’m growing spiritually. Wonder is a close second. It’s hard for me not to worship the Creator when I’m surrounded by His creation. That’s the way I’m wired.

And there is nothing wrong with playing to our strengths. So go ahead and love God in the way that comes most naturally to you. But you also need to cultivate the other love languages. Why? Because loving God in one way isn’t enough. We’re commanded to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. And when we do, it’s love to the fourth power.

Sometimes the greatest act of love isn’t the one that comes most easily. It’s the one that is most difficult or requires the greatest sacrifice. Maybe compassion or curiosity doesn’t come as easily for you. If you learn to discipline yourself by practicing them, you’ll find tremendous fulfillment in them. And God will be glorified.

Compassion, wonder, curiosity and energy are nouns. It’s our job to turn them into verbs. It’s our highest calling and greatest privilege.

I invite you to be part of something that is bigger than you, more important than you, and longer lasting than you. I invite you to be part of the next reformation. It’s an invitation to be part of a primal movement that traces its origins all the way back to ancient catacombs, where our spiritual ancestors were martyred because they loved God more than they loved life.

Adapted from Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson, copyright 2009. Used by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed in any form.

serves as the senior pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., and is the author of more than 15 books on ministry, discipleship and Christian living.