Skip to main content

The Search to Belong: For Whom Am I Responsible?

Currently, I'm trying to post a few times a week summaries of chapters from books I've read over the past few years. These are the books that have really informed my thinking on discipleship and small groups. Hopefully, they'll provide a good opportunity for you to think through some of these same thoughts.

Today, I'm looking at chapter two from the book The Search to Belong by Joe Myers. This chapter is entitled, "Longing to Belong."

Belonging means different things to different people. According to Myers, "belonging happens when you identify with another entity -- a person or organization, or perhaps a species, culture, or ethnic group." Myers points out that belonging is not necessary reciprocal as Bob may feel he belongs to a group while others in the group may not sense that Bob truly belongs.

In a church setting, people often want to know what it means to "belong". Must one become a member to belong? Do they need to be part of an official small group. Can one belong if they aren't sure they agree with the doctrine? Is it possible to belong if you haven't become a Christian? Every church culture (either formally or informally) has different answers to these questions. These are all questions people have about belonging, and their relationship with others in the church will be deeply impacted by the answers to these questions.

Myers says, "There are those who belong to our congregations who have not asked permission to do so. They connect with the congregation and they choose to belong. Sometimes they decide to follow our rules of engagement; at other times they create their own. Yet make no mistake; their experience of belonging is significant in their lives."

In other words, sometimes people believe they belong to a church, even though they may have NO relational connection to the church. However, they've chosen it to be "their church".

But is this healthy? As Christians, and as members of the body of Christ, we must give significant thought to the question, "to whom do we belong?" and the question, "who belongs to us?" How would Jesus answer this question? He said the second greatest command is to love our neighbor as ourselves. He then defined neighbor (using the parable of the good Samaritan) as anyone with whom we come into contact.

Was Jesus saying that we belong to everyone? Was he saying everyone belongs to us?

Maybe a better word to use is the word "responsible". Who am I responsible for? Who is responsible for me? As we consider the role of small groups in the discipleship process, this may be one of the most important questions we ask. It's easy to say, "I'm responsible for those in my group." But does that meet Jesus' definition of neighbor? What about those who have no group? Who is responsible for them?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discussion Questions for Easter

Have several people ask the question, “What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done?”
Ask other people, “What do you hope to accomplish in the next several years of your life?”
Tell your class that today you’ll be talking about “life mission” or the one most important thing you do that drives everything else. Tell them that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the defining moment in history, so it should be the defining moment in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. How does the resurrection impact some of the crucial beliefs of Christianity? 
How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection? How would you be different without the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. What are some specific ways that the resurrection gives us hope?
If you had been a friend of Jesus when he was on earth, how would the resurrection have impacted your life? 
How do you think his followers then were effected by the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. What do you t…

SOAPY Bible Study

In the past, I've written about and talked about the SOAP method of Bible study. This is a simple Bible study method which can be utilized by an individual or a small group. All you need is a passage of Scripture and 15-30 minutes (a journal is helpful).

Many churches use this method of Bible study for their groups. Some have modified the SOAP method by adding a Y. Read more about it below:


This Bible study is an intentional focused effort of growing in the understanding of the scriptures. This form of study will assist in the transformation of our inner lives as we mature in understanding and in faith.
Set aside 15 minutes every day for the study. You might want to take more time after you have gotten started. Don’t overload yourself in the beginning. Keep a “soapy” journal because there will be the need to write everyday. As you develop your routine, share what you are learning with your Discipleship Group, Sunday school class, Circle, other groups in which you participate, or …

21 Bible Passages With Which Every Small Group Leader Should Be Familiar

Matthew 5:23-24.
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Luke 10:1-11.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to hous…