2005-01-24

Belonging Without Belonging


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I've really been enjoying Pastor Tod Bolsinger's blog, It Takes a Church. And while I'm still digesting
the latest post, I really appreciated his thoughts on belonging
to a church
.

After covering those who seek to belong without believing, those who are
comfortable in the confines of church without having committed to
Christ, and membership responsibilities, he gets to those who believe
without belonging.
"While many today believe without
belonging, this is the most pervasive mistake of the day. Indeed, I got
word that the speaker at our Junior High camp told the kids that church
wasn't important only faith was. Fortunately our Junior highers saw
through that and challenged the notion."

At this point my mind began to expand on a few of Bolsinger's points to
think of those who belong without belonging. There are ways to take on
all the trappings of belonging; attendance, financial contribution, even
membership. And if the church's goal were to simply exist, to open its
doors a few times each week, to collect up enough money to pay the
utilities and salaries, and keep up the grounds, I guess that would be
sufficient.

But the church is a living organism. A beacon in the community.
Christ's hands, feet and love in world famished for all three. A church
can't hope to reach its community and its world without members who are
invested, who are passionately committed to that mission.

Those who belong without belonging are more engaged in finding fault
than in finding solutions. They are more interested in territory than
in progress. For all of their belongingness, they are ever ready to
back off, or completely pick up and move on at a moment's notice, at the
slightest slight.

As I write this, we are in our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and
I'm still reflecting on Sunday's sermon. "If the church is divided, its
witness is weak." How much more so when division comes along the lines
of what the church is to be about in the first place.

Those who think the church exists to provide a comfy seat on Sunday
mornings must wonder at all the talk of "division" and "disunity," or
for that matter, "challenge."

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