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The Power of Belonging

A Faith Avenue Overview

By Michelle Fleming, Media Director

Belonging is a primal human need to be a part of something bigger than yourself; it is positioned right at the center of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. When I think of what it means to belong, I think of acceptance, my unique qualities being seen and appreciated, the insta-bond that often happens in dorms, soaking up the joy and laughter that permeates any kind of reunion, and being with my Connect Group.

Belonging does not develop from finding a group with whom you have everything in common; it occurs when we experience acceptance for our authentic selves. I believe we can experience this most richly in our relationship with God—a God who created us, rescued us, and call us his very own. As Romans declares, we have received a Spirit of adoption:

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. (Romans 8:16 ESV)

If I had to summarize the Faith Avenue, it would be the ministries that help members and seekers experience belonging in Christ. In the Team Based-Pastor Led model, the focus of the Faith Avenue is discipleship. Christian discipleship is the disciplined habit of thinking and acting in Christ. Discipleship is growing closer to Christ, becoming more like Christ, and going deeper into Christian community with other believers.

The Faith Avenue is about the life of the church in between Sunday services. This is where discipleship occurs, growing in faith as we live out and allow Christ to express his faith in our lives and relationships.

Considering our relational God, we know that relational gatherings are crucial for discipleship. We are sanctified in community. The Faith Avenue is the Avenue where community is built through relational and spiritually formational activities. As the graphic displays, there are three sub-categories that constitute the Faith Avenue:

  • Church Life: this is the relationship building that happens inside the church community between Sundays.
    • For example: camps, retreats, game nights, etc. We have recommended an “Activities Coordinator” to facilitate these events.
    • Other relationship building might include creating meal trains for new moms or taking communion to those who are unable to attend worship services. These responsibilities would fall under the Practical Support Ministries role in the model.
  • Connect Groups: weekly, small gatherings that create a safe space for seekers and members to connect with God and one another.
    • In each connect group we recommend having a host to create a welcoming environment and a facilitator to lead the discussions. This allows both to focus on a key element of connect groups.
  • Cross-Generational Care: creating ministry rhythms that engage, equip, and support all generations.
    • In the model, Family-based Youth Ministry and Elder Care Ministry are both represented to reflect the entire spectrum of ages being engaged by the congregation.

The multi-faceted Faith Avenue will take time and intentionality to build out. The expanded reflection questions found in the model can help you and your team discern your next steps for growing your Faith Avenue. Whether it is starting a connect group or planning a few game nights, remember the goal of the Faith Avenue—that the participants will experience belonging in Christ. Click here to download additional Faith Avenue Tools

One thought on “The Power of Belonging”

  1. A heart felt message and inspirational thoughts. Thank you for the words that cause reflection of who we are in Christ and where we need to be; following in His steps, unrestricting the light in us and helping others find the true meaning of life.

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