I ponder this often myself – being part of what I consider a “large” church I admi to there being many times when, in pondering my place in the church, I just do not feel connected.
That drew me to the book I have been reading, The Connecting Church. It is said:
“The development of meaningful relationships, where every member carries a significant sense of belonging, is central to what it means to be the church. So why do many Christians feel disappointed and disillusioned with their efforts to experience authentic community? Despite the best efforts of pastors, small group leaders, and faithful lay persons, church too often is a place of loneliness rather than connection.
Church can be so much better. So intimate and alive. The Connecting Church tells you how. The answer may seem radical today, but it was a central component of life in the early church. First-century Christians knew what it meant to live in vital community with one another, relating with a depth and commitment that made “the body of Christ” a perfect metaphor for the church. What would it take to reclaim that kind of love, joy, support, and dynamic spiritual growth? Read this book and find out.”
We are all busy in this day in age; so many live and die by their cell phones, ipads and other random devices. Conections are more difficult to make and maintain in today’s society. Where once there was a strong “community” within the church, for many today, I fear it is too easy to become lost within. We need to be intentional.
I love how he says: “We need to stop spending so much time commuting, either changing to a less lucrative job or moving closer to work. We need to move away from the assumption that two incomes are prerequisites for happy living. We need to stop spending so much time ferrying children around to various activities, limiting their involvement in extracurriculars. We need to draw back from being on a dozen different teams and committees at church and spend more time at home. We need to become less independent and allow our neighbors to regularly get into our lives. We need to intentionally connect with our neighbors, spending time in the front yard and on the front porch. This neighborhood focus should be where we invest our relational energy, thereby providing the context for the following tenets of healthy Christian relationships: spontaneity, availability, frequency, common meals, and geography.”
Time is of the essence. Too often I catch myself complaining that I do not have enough time for all the things I need to do Its a wonderful reminder within this book that we need to be more intentional; we need to actively seek out ways and opportuities to connect.
We must not be lazy; we must not settle for what “is” but we must truly look beyond. This is a clear problem; one that is well defined within this book. The issues are many; the solutions may seem wild and crazy BUT let us consider things honestly. What holds you back from living that blessed and abundalty joyful life that is promised you?
Consider – honestly – what you need versus what you want; remembering that the relationships are always more important.
And keep your eyes on His kingdom knowing that all else will follow :- )