By Andrea Buchanan
In the early days of Meadowbrook Church I was part of a team called Connectors. We helped people new to church find connections. If we met someone who played an instrument we’d help them get acquainted with the worship leader. If we met a home school family we introduced them to others doing the same. If a medical student or teacher crossed our paths we pointed them toward others in the same field of interest.
Recently I read a book called, “The Village Effect: How Face to Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier and Happier”. I learned that belonging to a religious group is a lot like living in a village. People tend to know when you need help and are more likely to provide it. Their shared religious beliefs ultimately make social groups more cohesive and impervious to outside threats. And the religious rituals provide a “sense of community even without talking”.
A study of nuns living in a convent found that they lived longer partly because of their deep spirituality, but the real reason was their powerful sense of belonging. The community stimulates minds, celebrates accomplishments, shares aspirations, and nurtures each other when bodies fail. This sounds a bit like being part of a Meadowbrook Neighborhood Community.
Brene Brown defines belonging as “being somewhere you want to be and they want you”, while “fitting in is being where you want to be and they don’t care at all”.
Now that we’re back at Meadowbrook Church after a number of years away, we find ourselves the new kids on the block. I’m pleased to say that we have been warmly welcomed, and we feel a sense of connection and belonging. Sticky name tags are no longer in vogue, yet Meadowbrook regulars have been very intentional about asking our names and remembering them when we meet again.
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus exhorts his disciples saying, “I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there...shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven (MSG).”
We’re so thrilled to be back at Meadowbrook, our village! Thanks for shining for Jesus and being open and generous with your lives.