I recently spent a week in North Carolina doing hurricane relief. During our time our team was able to speak to many of the people who had been affected by the devastating floods. The most surprising revelation to me was how often these particular areas go through flooding. I may have been insensitive with my response, but the question had to be asked: Why stay? The answer I received was basic and telling. “This is home”.
I have pondered that statement quite a bit over the past few days. “This is home”. How powerful home can be. Whether that’s a place or a family. It cries out that a place to belong is vital to human beings. More than vital, it seems to be a necessity. As a pastor I am called to move from time to time and leave ties behind, so I guess I forget how powerful this can be. When I consider my church members however, I am reminded that a place to belong is very important.
It has been said many times for many reasons that you don’t have to come to church to be a Christian. That is actually true. But church is so much more than just becoming a Christian. It is a place to belong. It is a place to belong and also be known. You can be the best version of you or the worst version and be accepted and loved. You don’t have to wear masks and you don’t have to be perfect. You simply belong.
I believe our world is hungry for a place to belong. If we are going to make disciples I believe that it is imperative for our churches to invite people to come in and find a place to belong. It is an easy ask. They are already looking. Why do people stay in troubled areas? It is home. Let’s make church just as hard to leave.