During Advent we look forward with great anticipation to the celebration of God coming in human flesh. Jesus born in a manger for each of us. He came for me, Doug – so that I might belong to the eternal family of faith – counted a child of God. I belong in the church, I belong to God, I am a part of his family.
While I may cognitively know I belong to something (for example – the Church), it is really nice to experience belonging as well. How do I really “know” I belong? I feel affirmed, accepted, loved…and people miss me when I am not present. People know my name and warmly greet me when I walk in the room – think Norm on the old sitcom “Cheers”. Norm walked in and everyone called out his name.
Grace is currently a mid-sized church. At a leadership level, we are striving towards a “small church” intimacy - where people belong and are known. How can this be achieved? We are seeking to improve our guest experience with more greeters and parking lot attendants. We are creating more intentional opportunities for fellowship. There are new and more small groups for people to experience a sense of belonging.
Want to “belong”? Come to the Advent meals and break bread with God’s people during each of the three Wednesdays leading up to Christmas. Be open to new ways of connecting. Consider signing up for a small group in the next go round of Life Groups. Volunteer to help with a ministry - become an usher, Braille worker, greeter, join the choir, serve children – the possibilities are endless! Stop and have a real conversation with someone you don’t really know yet. These things will lead you to a deeper sense of belonging – which we all need! May this Christmas bring you the gift of belonging! Jesus came for you – He wants you to experience His church as a place of true belonging and love.
May the peace of God fill your days. You belong to Him!
Pastor Doug Widger