RiverLife Weekly #24: Belonging
Dinah and I became part of the RiverLife family 2.5 years ago. Walking in that first Sunday, we felt the warmth, love and acceptance from RiverLifers. As a child, I longed for a safe and loving home which my parents provided. As an adult, I have such a home and more within RiverLife.
Admittedly in the initial months, there were times I reminisced over my former church. The truth is every church has its share of challenges. Am I glad that it wasn’t long before I realised that I was growing to love RiverLife and the people. There was nowhere else that I would devote my life. Here I found what I needed most: a place where I belong.
We have a deep longing to belong. As Christians, we recognise this longing as part of the way God made us – to live in community with Himself and with other people. Below, you will see the three primary ways people can choose to belong here.
1. WIDER GATHERING
Jesus spoke to the multitudes, comprising a wide range of people. Our wider gathering allows a safe, loving place where everyone can explore a relationship with God, no matter where they are in their spiritual journey.
There are pre-believers exploring a relationship with God. We have unchurched believers joining cell meetings. Some are deciding if they would like to make their home here. Some are beginning to have a sense of belonging.
2. ACTS 2:42 COMMUNITY
Every disciple in the early church was associated with a local church. Acts 2:42 is an example. The Bible calls us to belong to other believers in deep ways (Romans 12:4-16). When we commit to each other here, we become a son and daughter of the house – RiverLife becomes our home church.
Church membership offers a clear way to become part of a spiritual family. Those who commit make a basic faith statement, are baptised, are voluntarily submitted to the leadership, commit to share gifts and resources, and participate in church life. They become rooted in a spiritual family, share life together and receive priority in pastoral care and instruction.
3. LEADERSHIP COMMUNITY
While many ministry roles are open to anyone in RiverLife, specific roles require being part of the Leadership Community because those who serve in these areas represent the church or provide spiritual guidance for others. We have teams of spiritual leaders across this house who make up our Leadership Community. They range from seasoned shepherds to apprentice leaders.
These three layers allow us to reflect on our participation in a life of faith as disciples of Jesus and consider our levels of involvement in the life of this house.
And as with any family, belonging is mostly about showing up, at times becoming disillusioned ... and choosing to stay anyway.
Pastor Ben KC Lee