September 22, 2017

Do you have a hard time feeling connected in the church? Perhaps you go to Sunday services but don’t really consider it your home or family. Maybe you even get frustrated with how things are run, but never really dive in to be a part of the solution? If we’re being real, there’s a very big difference between seeing a community as simply “a church” versus “my church.” I think the distinction between the two reveals the disconnection between only attending versus truly belonging to a group. So what’s missing when we only show up on a Sunday as a distant consumer?

Let’s take a look.

The core desire of every human being is to feel connected. We all have an inherent desire to feel a part of something, connected, and like we belong somewhere. Brene Brown has studied human connection and this deep need for six years (I encourage you to check her work out as it’s really amazing.) We can’t deny the power of our desire to belong but I feel that there are so many people in the world who aren’t experiencing the fulfillment that comes from being connected and feeling a like a part of a group.

Check out more on this week’s flashback friday video:

In a nutshell:

  • We were saved into a family. We are one body with Christ. When you became a Christian you started carrying the name of Christ and were born as a new creation into this family.
  • There is an order to belonging. People belong, then they believe, then they behave. Religion gets this backwards. Religion tries to control people’s behavior by making them believe something… it does this before giving people a place of belonging. I think this is one of the main reasons people struggle with not feeling like they belong in the church.
  • The process of belonging to a church looks like this:
    • I visited their church.
    • I go to that church.
    • I attend X Church (we give it a name).
    • I’m a part of X Church.
    • I belong to X Church. (Something shifts in us when we feel like we belong.)
    • The lasts step is: “This is our church.”
  • It’s not until you take ownership over something that you’ll actually have influence.

Practical Belonging

Belonging requires a few things from us and the group:

  • A name—I have an identity.
  • I am known—I have a community.
  • I am accepted—I have a people.
  • I am valued—I am significant.
  • I share ownership—I have a place.
  • I share responsibility—I have a role.
  • I share common core values or DNA—we think alike.
  • I share an agreed upon vision—we have a common purpose.

The Messy Truth

The messy truth about belonging is that it takes risk. There’s no such thing as a perfect church or a perfect family, and you have to be vulnerable if you want to belong. You have to leave your weapons at the door, let down your walls and be okay with the fact that it will cost you something to truly be connected to a group of people. If you want to be seen and known, you have to take off the armor that you think is protecting you from pain. The truth is it’s really just shutting you out from the possibility of love and belonging. I know this is hard to do when you’ve been hurt by love in the past. But today I want to encourage you to take a risk on love again!

Don’t Let Past Hurts Steal Your Life

God is bigger than any person’s ability to hurt you, so don’t let hurt steal your life. We’ve all been hurt in the past but we can choose to love again and trust again instead of shutting ourselves up in an ice castle. You were born to have ownership of a people! You were born to belong. You are in the family of God and as a Christian you carry the name of the Body of Christ. You have a place that only you can fill. If you don’t show up, there’s a hole in the Body. So we need you to be fully you, to take a risk of vulnerability, and to actually make a choice towards your place in the Body!

Today I pray for everyone reading this who struggles to belong, I pray that you would find comfort in Holy Spirit and courage to take a step towards connection, laying down every weapon of judgement, criticism or fear. I pray that the revelation of the family of God you’ve been born into would resonate over your heart today with a new weight and confidence! You were born to belong! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments!

Topics: All TopicsFreedomIdentity


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