Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
The whole assembly kept silence and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles. (Acts 15:12)
I recently read an article by congregational consultant David Brubaker. In it, he talks about the nature of congregations and what lies at the heart of why they exist. In other words, what are the dynamics at work in a congregation? What needs are literally being met in church? “If we ask congregational members why they participate in congregational life,” Brubaker says, “the answers often resemble one of the following:
- “I appreciate the worship service in this congregation.”
- “I come because of the people that are here.”
- “It’s important to me that my children are raised with the values of this community.”
Brubaker goes on to say that “these responses reflect the three core functions of a religious congregation” that also meet three core human needs: meaning making, belonging, and value transmission.
- Meaning making. Religious congregations provide a coherent worldview that invites members into a story that is larger than even the congregation or tradition of which they are a part.
- According to Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone, religious congregations in the U.S. assemble more people on a weekly basis than any other type of voluntary association. Congregations offer established relational networks that, if permeable, invite visitors to affiliate with others and build meaningful relationships.
- Values Transmission. Every religious congregation either draws on some tradition with established beliefs and practices or is in the process of creating their own. Those members with children often desire to see the values that are embedded in these beliefs and practices passed on to their progeny. (https://www.congregationalconsulting.org/why-congregations-exist/)
As a Christian church, we are about the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a reality that brings meaning into our lives, creates a deep sense of belonging to a story much bigger than ourselves, and instills values in us that are passed down from one to another. When you come to church, so much more is happening than you might realize in any given moment. What a gift that is. See you Sunday!
Published on 11/04/2019 @ 10:45 PM CDT