Friday, April 4, 2014

Why Do We Want to Belong

I have seen and read and studied a lot about church growth, and I have come to one conclusion.  We really want our churches to grow, and we have little to no idea how to do it.  We find markers and correlation, but you have probably heard me say "correlation does not equal causation".  We look at worship styles and preaching styles and decor in the worship center, parking and seating and lighting.  We look at all these things, but if you really get down to it, if you ask yourself why you attend the church you do, what is the reason?  Chances are, it's relationships.

I have been a part of great churches, I have been part of lousy churches.  I have known worship leaders who should cut a CD, and I have led worship, and everyone should have left screaming.  I have heard the most gifted preachers share the most amazing messages, and I have walked out of church with no idea what the sermon was about (and neither did anyone else).  I once heard a sermon about stealing a pig.  I have no idea what the point of that message was, but I don't think I'll steal any pigs, so maybe it was effective.  We may like, love or tolerate the preaching and the worship.  The reality is, church becomes a family and you stay with your family.

People want to belong.  Kids join gangs and do illegal things because they want to belong.  Men physically push themselves to the breaking point to get strong enough to join the team.  Many turn to illegal (or barely legal) substances to help them excel.  You can say it's for the fame or the money, but many of them just want to be on the team.  We have an innate desire to belong, even those of us who are introverted, we want to belong in the back and left alone, but we still want to belong.  Everyone wants to be part of a group, a family, a circle of friends.  We want to be part of the team, the band, the circle, no one want to be left out.

This is true of church too, this is one of the reasons I'm always harping about Sunday School and Small Group.  It gives people a place to connect and belong.  Sure, people can feel like they belong in Worship Service, but it's more difficult to connect with people.  Sunday School is a great place, it's a natural place to connect.  Invite people you know and you like to come connect with you in Sunday School.  It's amazing thing that takes place when you build your class into a community.  When you spend time together in and out of class.  When you have fellowships and go out and do things, play softball and watch the Superbowl.  It builds a community and people want that.  They want to belong, they want to be invited, they want to be in on the inside jokes.  Invite people, connect with people, actually care about people.  It's amazing what a difference community makes.

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