Updated: Sep 20, 2020
Encounter: Read and meditate on the first chapter of Ephesians. Take time to underline those words or phrases that seem to make an impression on you. Begin to think about the question, “What does it mean for me to belong to God and belong to Eden Church?”
We were destined by the plan of God, who accomplishes everything according to his design. (Ephesians 1:11)
“Raise your right hand and repeat after me.” That is what I was asked to do in 1981 when I gave my Oath of Enlistment into the United States Army as I made my commitment to defend our country and our Constitution. I had never committed to anything beyond my school work and a 9-5 job. This was the first time I felt I was committing to a purpose that was larger than me and at times I wasn’t quite sure what I had gotten myself into. But I felt I was also part of a family, a place where others had my back and encouraged me to grow beyond what I was capable of.
Belonging is a big thing. Many of us have never had a true sense of belonging and the great question that many of us ask is, “Who are my people?”
Belonging has been wired within us. Beyond food and shelter, nothing motivates us more than having a people and place of belonging. Research tells us that income level, marriage and children, and perceived security all pale in comparison to belonging in promoting sustained happiness. We long to belong.
The church is God’s creation to “set the lonely in families” (Ps. 68:6), to give us a place to belong that goes beyond earthly organizations to supernatural and eternal purposes that God has planned for us according to His will and design.
Belonging has deep roots in the biblical story. Belonging is described fully in scripture through how we belong to God (Romans 14:8), we don’t belong to ourselves or the world (John 15:19), we belong to one another in the church (1 Cor. 12:15-16). In Christ and in His church, we can find true belonging and true belonging is being fully known and being fully loved. And this is what we want people to experience at Eden.
When we take the focus off our own need for belonging, and create space for others to belong, we find ourselves surrounded by those who are happy to have us in their lives. (Jeremy Linneman) and we grow to become more like Jesus for the sake of others.
What does it mean to belong to Eden Church?
· Become a follower of Jesus
· Experience Life with God and Grow
· Live into our God given Purpose
· Choose Community
· Bring a friend – share your faith
· Give generously
Our new members have said yes we will do these things and yes, “We belong here,” so we swing the door open wide and say welcome to the family. We are your people!
My hope is that this will be our mantra at Eden as we answer our Master’s call to, “Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that this house will be full.” (Luke 14:23)
Welcome to the Family! We Love you!
· Jim Benefiel
· Pat Cooke
· Toni Burgess
· Courtney Stuart
· Linda Hines
· Dave & Andrea Prybis
· Mariah Prybis
· Debbie Huston
· Mike & Lindsey Edwards
· Michelle Trammel
· Kali Matheney
· Angela Keller
· Dave & Sandy Duncan
Belonging with you,
Reflect: In what ways have you “Longed to Belong,” in community. In what ways have you found that belonging at Eden or in other families, organizations, etc. What made you feel that you found your people?
Encourage: Is there someone you can reach out to and help them belong either in friendship or by inviting someone to our Eden Church community?
Gather: Intentionally reach out to our new members by writing a note or in person or sending an email and share how blessed we are to be together and welcome to the family! Maybe invite them to your Triad, Life Group or out to lunch with some of your other Eden friends.
Spirit of the living God, we praise and adore you for empowering us to claim membership of the body of Christ, a gift received through the fullness of your grace. Empower us anew, we pray, with tongues of fire and hearts of love to proclaim the reconciling word among people. Remind us that we are all members of the one body and if one member suffers, we all suffer. May we, as the body of Christ in this place, be the best evidence of your love by declaring and witnessing to this as the year of the Lord’s favor for all people. We give thanks that all of us are Christ’s body, and rejoice in each one being a part of it. You have given us the gift of belonging. Accept our adoration and praise for these great gifts, we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen