I am a part of an online “learning lab” community geared towards those who work and lead in churches. The theme this month is one that has been on my mind for sometime and I’ve been eager to hear the questions posed and see the responses and conversations generated around the topic: Belonging.
From the beginning of creation, God made note that it was not good for humans to be alone. And if you have ever been in a class that I have taught on discipleship, you have probably heard me say something along the lines of ‘this thing called faith is done best when we do it together in community’. Being a disciple of Jesus means walking alongside others. And to include new people on this journey, to be intentional about making space for others to walk with us, means thinking about belonging.
When I think of people who have walked alongside me, and the communities where I truly felt like I belonged, I think of a young woman named Erin who went out of her way to extend an invitation to me to join her small group. I think of being entrusted to take on leadership roles. I think of connections that extended beyond a single, designated meeting time. I think of authentic sharing of life, and compassionate listening.
So, some questions for you to ponder about belonging:
In what ways have you experienced belonging as a part of a faith community?
Was it when you were asked to serve on a ministry team, or when someone you just met invited you out to lunch with them? Was it when you saw someone like you serving in leadership or preaching? Was it when your ideas were listened to, or someone just asked you for your story?
How can you play a role in helping others experience belonging?
Can you commit to serve as a greeter or Coffee Fellowship host? How might you be “on the look out” for folks you don’t already know on a Sunday morning? What are questions you might be ready to ask them? How can you be present to one another and to the movement of the Spirit guiding you toward helping them belong?
I can’t wait to hear your ideas and stories!