Belonging is important.
I invite you to recall the days when you used to stand in a line on the outdoor ice rink as the two best hockey players in the school would make their choices, one by one, of who they wanted on their team. As this ritual unfolds, your senses take in the freshly fallen snow piled up at either end of the rink, the 10 degree air blowing gently against your chilly, rosy cheeks and the faint aroma of a fire burning on a hearth teasing your nose. Have you got that quintessentially southern image clearly in your mind?
Perhaps not, but we all know that feeling of wanting to be part of something, yet unsure that we will be accepted. It matters a great deal to me that the members of Christ Baptist know that they belong. So what does that look like?
At Christ Baptist Church we seek to glorify God by loving, growing and sending. In our loving we are simply following the 2 greatest commands as defined by Jesus: loving God and loving our neighbor. Loving God can take many forms, but one obvious way is to be regularly present every Sunday morning when we worship our Lord together. Loving God means orienting our time around him rather than us.
Clearly, loving our neighbor can take many forms as well, but since I’ve mentioned Sunday morning worship, I’d like to suggest that one way you can love your neighbor is to take time before and after each service to greet those around you. And, if you want to be radical, sit in a different place each Sunday with the intention of meeting people and welcoming those who may be new.
At Christ Baptist we seek to grow in maturity and community. Two ways you can do this are through attending and participating in a Sunday school class as well as a small group. Sunday school classes exist to teach you and equip you to live the gospel we profess. Small groups are a vital component of both building friendships and encouraging one another in our faith. The larger we get, the smaller we need to be, and classes and small groups help us achieve that.
In a little more than a week from now, on the afternoon of Sunday January 13, all our members will have the opportunity to sign up to go on one of our short term ministry trips. There will be trips to Brazil, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Kurdistan, Moldova and Uganda. But what if you can’t go? I would still encourage you to attend that information session to hear about the different trips so that you can decide which one(s) you will specifically pray for.
I pray that every member of Christ Baptist knows and feels that they belong. I also pray that your sense of belonging will come from your commitment to serving. Do you belong because you serve?