Adolescent Psychologist Andrew Fuller writes belonging “is the strongest antidote to suicide, violence and substance abuse for our young people. It is the most powerful remedy for loneliness, hopelessness and loss of meaning in all our lives.” (p2, “Valuing Boys, Valuing Girls”, Andrew Fuller). These powerful words remind us of the potent promise of belonging. It is what we hope for in our church. That every person matters, every person belongs.
The Church has the resources to build belonging. We believe in the love of God that welcomes, embraces, even when it is difficult, so people will belong. We have the language for it. With a Father in heaven you are my sister, brother. We are not a club, we are a family of faith. We are commanded to it. Jesus says we are to love one another, as he loves us (John 13:24). We are empowered for it. The fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life is love (Gal 5:22). Our faith is in question for a lack of it. If we fail to love our sister or brother, we do not love God (1 Jn 4:20).
Belonging is not a theory; it must be experienced to be of any value. In our church we get to put belonging into practice. Week on week we build belonging through our conversations, meals, playing, weeping, laughter, listening, and more. And through this, we are all better off.
Jason (Photo on Unsplash)