Step 3: Partner
Have you ever been to a new country and experienced a totally different culture? In different cultures there are different languages, different rules, different ways to act. Different countries have different cultures but so do different schools, or jobs or churches. Every church has its own culture, its own way of thinking, its own way of talking, its own way of acting. When people come to a new church they'll have a cultural adjustment to make. People that encounter new cultures often go though an experience called culture shock.
According to Dr. Kay Clifford from the University of Michigan there are four general stages of culture shock. In stage one the visitor is often excited. The new culture is interesting, the people are friendly and helpful, and the future looks promising. I remember the first time I came to Calvary. It was an exciting experience. The building is impressive. The worship is amazing. The message was great. The people who greeted me were friendly and helpful. It was an exciting time as I'm sure it is for almost all of the first time visitors.
Unfortunately, stage two comes next. Dr. Clifford describes it with one word. “Problems!” Dr. Clifford goes on to say “Things that were simple back home require more effort in the new culture. It seems hard to make friends, and at this point visitors may begin to believe that the local people are unfriendly.” It is at this point people may begin to have complaints about the new culture.
Stage two can be difficult. Visitors at Calvary can attend Link-Up to help them make those cultural adjustments. Link-Up helps by introducing people to the culture of Calvary and connecting people into LIFEGroups. Once the visitor is connected to the LIFEGroup he or she participates in the third connection point at Calvary: Partner.
When a person partners they commit to their LIFEGroup; they commit to the faith; and they develop new relationships. People will begin to feel at home in their faith when they are connected with others who are sharing their spiritual journey. It is in the LIFEGroup that people can develop the formative, caring and relationships needed to be deeply connected in the church. It is through these relationships that the person can be further connected with God, with fellow Christians and with the mission of Christ. When those relationships are in place the person can move on to stages three and four of culture shock, recovery and stability.
Moving forward in your spiritual journey can be a difficult task. The five points of connection at Calvary help to make that growth easier. After people explore Calvary and launch through Link-Up, partnering helps to make people at home in their faith.