I’ve been working on some things at church that center around creating spaces for people to “belong.” basically, at jvc, i think we make it a little bit of a challange for people who are still checking out our community to feel “part of things.” Those who know they want to, there are ways. But, i am thinking that it is not all that easy. Maybe i am wrong, but those are my current thoughts. So i have been thinking and prayign about ways we can “create spaces” for people to be more easily integrated into our community and feel like they can call jericho home.
that brings me to a few questions for you (all two of you who actually read this!)
1. What makes you feel like you belong somewhere? or How do you know that you belong? (anywhere, church, your friendships, the local coffee shop, etc.)
2. What do you personally need in order to have a sense of beloning in a group?
if you feel like giving me a few reponses, that would be great…
As one of your two fans :), let me respond, because I was just thinking about this the other day and talked to one our associate pastors about it.
The one thought I had is that we need to do everything possible to not make new people feel like they are new people.
— When we publicize something in a bulletin or newsletter or from the pulpit, we should make sure we include all infromation necessary for a new person to feel welcome — names, phone numbers, places, times etc. Many times we say, “Talk to Betty” or whoever. Who the heck is Betty, the new person might ask.
— If someone fills out a card, sends an e-mail or whatever, we need to get back to that person as quickly as possible so they don’t get lost.
— Work at creating a (fishing) net of relationships. Introduce people to others with similar interests as quickly as possible. Create social situations where people can meet each other.
It’s all pretty common sense really, but it bears keeping in mind always. Not sure this is what you were thinking or if these suggestions really fit your situation.
dan, its exactly what i am thinking. i think it is really about creating space. actually, creating accessible space. that is, making it easy for a person who is new, investigating or whatever, to get involved without taking huge risks (i.e. going to someone person’s unfamiliar home during the week where they feel totally out of place).
what i am curious about also is this: How do you know you belong somewhere?
i have been thinking about this lately. I have found myself in a position where i have lots of friends, feel a part of the group (why, i’ll think of later) but do not feel that i have a good peer two way friendship in my current church. So i have intentionally started to nurture a couple of friendships. I realized that many of my relationships are one way…..from me to them. some if t his is because of the ministry role i have in church, but i need these other kinds of friends. these kinds of friendships take time and i was not taking that time. it involves asking questions and listening, and then being willing to answer their’s honestly. i am part of an assimilation team that is starting up at church, so this is interesting for me to think about.