I was beginning my journey through Bible college and into ministry in the mid to late nineties, which means the seeker-sensitive movement was really big in churches. I’ve never been much of a supporter of the seeker movement. Truthfully, I thought it really missed the mark.
On the tail end of the seeker movement, postmodernism swept in. It’s almost as though the seeker movement was the last ditch effort of modernity to keep a foothold…
I bought the postmodern mindset hook, line and sinker. I would like to think I was ahead of time in this… but unfortunately my journey kept me out of the limelight and off center stage of this discussion. Despite that, I have believed for years people desperately want to be connected. This is one of the things defining the postmodern mindset, the need to feel connected, to have relationships, to be in community, to be a part of something.
This is a universal truth about human beings. This is why I bought the postern thinking, it was one of the first church growth perspectives that took seriously the basic need of humans to connect with each other.
We all want to belong. We all want to be a part of something. We all crave a family, a place where we matter… a place where we mean something to someone. In Genesis God said ‘Let us make man in our image’ (emphasis added), indicating God himself has a communal dynamic to his personality. I would argue, this communal dynamic is the part of his image we are created in which causes us to crave interaction and community with others. So when I say it is a universal truth, I mean to say I believe it is hard-wired into every human being to connect with others.
A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of this. I was at a meeting for child welfare workers and a new mentor program was being presented by the host of the meeting. In speaking about the mentoring program, she said, ‘the boys in foster care especially are looking for someone to hang out with them.’ I thought, she is dead on. They want someone to hang out wight hem, because this is what we all want at our deepest core of who we are as humans. We want to be connected.
When we are disconnected it feels wrong. It feels out of place.
Numerous musician-theologians over the years have keyed in on this fundamental design within us. We desperately desire to be connected. This is why we must take seriously verses like James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Orphans and widows have a difficult time being connected due to a loss of their primary method of connection – family. Jesus calls us to be family to those who don’t have family. It is our responsibility as Christ-followers to help those who are disconnected to connect. Of created us for connection, for community.
There is no greater act of love we can show those who are disconnected but to connect with them and become the family they are missing. Without community we can’t survive. Literally, our physical and neurological bodies crave the stimulation that can only be had from others.
What are you doing to connect and create community with others?