Belonging Before Believing

Before I die, I hope to meet someone who truthfully enjoys the DMV experience.

Thus far, no one I’ve encountered likes going to the DMV office for any reason; unless they have some strange fixations with taking numbers, waiting in long lines, and paying bills. I’m still unsure what my reaction will be if I ever meet this person… possibly amazement but likely panic.

Adam McLane recently blogged about how his kids “hated” church. Adam is careful in his post not to blame churches for this, but I wonder if the environments for the church and DMV could be the problem rather than being true to their purpose. It’s no wonder that online services for both are quickly becoming preferred means. As I’m trying out different churches around Los Angeles, every church has a distinct feel and character to it. Some have greatly impressed me and others have made me want to run out screaming and crying like Adam’s kids.

In his book Evangelism Outside the Box, Rick Richardson talks about how belonging precedes belief. Trust and acceptance are necessary ingredients for a community to be a potential new reality to newcomers. “Today people are certainly looking for a community to belong to before a message to believe in… Our communities, like those of (John) Wesley’s day, aren’t attractive to most pre-Christian people.” Evangelism Outside the Box (p.55).

Is your community (personally or corporately):

  • accepting?
  • loving?
  • trustworthy?
  • fueled by Christ?

It’s more than just a church problem, but a ministry issue. Do the people you work, meet, or converse with have a sense of trust and acceptance from you? Do you feel like they belong regardless of where they’re coming from? Are they genuinely loved and cared for before you begin to teach and/or preach?

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