Belonging is our Choice
“We choose to show up and plug in – that’s how we engage and grow”
As we wrap up our ‘Values // Creating Culture’ series, we look at our last value of belonging which I think underpins all our other values. Because if “culture is the way we do things around here” (Pete Scazzero) then when we choose to belong, we need to know who and what we are choosing to belong to.
Now that we know, we have a decision to make, is this the community I want to belong to. If the answer is yes then we’ve got to show up, and plug in, because that’s how we are going to grow not only our own lives but those around us too.
A few weeks ago I took part in the Cheshire 10k, my first race experience after having trained on my own for the last seven months. I wasn’t prepared for what running with one and a half thousand other people would do for my race experience. Now I had people to compare with, people to race against. I began thinking of a Mo Farah type racing strategy, to save something in my energies for a sprint finish.
And then there was the support of each other, giving out glances to one another, all of us with the same goal – to finish the race. There was the support of the stewards, and my own support team waiting for me at the finish line, with my two girls holding a homemade banner of encouragement.
I can’t tell you what that did for my courage in finishing the race strong. You see, it’s far better to run the race of life together, than on your own. To put it simply, we is better than me.
The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we are “surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith” (Hebrews 12:1), that’s referring to great men and women of the Old Testament like Noah, Abraham & Sarah, Joseph, Rahab to name just a few. As we look at their lives, we’re spurred on in our faith. The same is true in community, as we journey through life with each other we can bring support, encouragement, share our frustrations and pray with each other.
Like King Solomon said in Proverbs, “as iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17). That’s what happens when we choose to belong, to show up and plug in. We grow with one another. We sharpen each other. Because we is better than me.
But it’s important to remember that belonging is our choice - we’re very deliberate that we value your choice to belong. Because it will take your time and energy to get connected, there will be an element of sacrifice in getting along to a connect group, being here on a Sunday, getting to Pray, to Alpha or being part of a server team or other ways that you can get plugged in to church life.
So you decide. Will you belong or not?
And finally, you have to make yourself at home. If you’ve ever moved to a new house then you know that it can take a bit of time to get used to your surroundings. I’ve lived in 9 homes in my short life span, the longest stint in one house was 8 years.
Each time we moved to a new house, it took us a good few weeks to unpack and have all the furniture in the right place. But the key to belonging, and feeling like we were ‘home’, was to stick at it, to put the energy and the time into decorating, to enjoy being family around the dinner table, to build community where we were grounded. To make memories, to go through the different seasons, whether it was times of great fun and laughter, or heartache and struggles.
My challenge to all of us, as we come to the end of the Creating Culture series, is now that you know what our culture is going to look like, (how we do things around here), are you going to make yourself at home?
Find Your Home – where will you belong? Whether it’s here at The Foundry or somewhere else, make sure you’re planted in a local church, don’t be a wandering Christian because the enemy loves nothing more than to bring division and disunity to your wandering soul!
Get Your Feet Under The Table – get signed up to a connect group, onto a server team, for an Alpha course, for baptism etc.
Get Renovating – ask God to show you what part of belonging you need to work on. Look over our 7 values and grow in areas you might not be so strong in now.