Do You Belong? Are You Spiritually Committed?

Belonging_crThis is the third of a six-part series on my musings about belonging and engagement as individuals and as a parish. Last week I wrote about the way we consider our parish to be thriving – after all, by any measure (Mass attendance, sacraments, ministry, offertory, etc.) we are indeed thriving. We are people who “believe in, sign up, show up, and chip in,” – and so our instinct is to say that believing, volunteering, attendance, and contributing are all things that lead to a sense of belonging and engagement in the faith community. As was noted last week, it turns out these are well-studied things and, in fact, it is belonging that leads to increased believing, volunteering, spiritual growth, and financial support. It raises the question: what are the indicators that individuals and the parish community have a sense of belonging? Continue reading

Come and See Where you Belong

Belonging_crDo you remember last week’s gospel? It was Mark’s account of the Baptism of the Lord. This week we shift to the Gospel according to John and see Jesus moving from the waters of the Jordan to his first encounter with would-be disciples. We know they are going to say ‘yes’ and follow Jesus. Still, I have wonder what they were thinking, feeling, and ultimately, why did they say “yes.” We are told that Andrew believed he had found the Messiah. Still, I wonder what was going on inside – the hopes, the expectations, what it was like to meet Jesus…. and so much more. Continue reading

What are you looking for?

Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?”

BelongingWhat Does it Mean to Belong? It is not what you think.

Today’s column is the second of a six-part series. Last week I thought about all life here in the parish and all the ways that we “believe in, sign up, show up, and chip in.” I think our parishioners comprise every permutation and combination of these characteristics. But is any one of these characteristics the key characteristics to belonging and being engaged in our parish? What makes our parish healthy? Continue reading

Home and Belonging

FB-PostWe post things on Facebook once or twice a week – maybe a 30 or so folks visit each post, some percentage of them “like” the post, and perhaps the post add a few “friends.” This Thursday we posted a simple item on the parish Facebook page letting people know there will be a tour of our beautiful church today at 1:15 pm. But this post about the tour of the church has gone somewhat viral. By early Saturday evening more than 8,300 people have viewed the post, several hundred “liked” it, and a whole bunch of people became “friends!” Holy cow! Holy guacamole! People like us! We have friends! This affirms everything we have tried to do here at the parish! …. ahhh… well….. let’s not get too breathless about it all. I don’t think all 8,300 hundred people are coming for the tour. Still, it’s good to know people find the church building beautiful. But I wish they would and they could all have the feeling of the one person who wrote: “Absolutely love this community. Like coming home every time I step through those doors.” That is what I would like to have people experience when come through those doors – people who meet them, welcome them, to fulfill what is perhaps the deepest of human desires: belonging – knowing that you are home. Continue reading

Musings about Belonging

belonging-groups-cOver the past year I have been meeting with a group of parishioners about the parish. It has been a wide-ranging discussion about the future, our vision, and such things. One of the topics that came up repeatedly was about “belonging.” Our discussion made us ask, “Have we created a home in this parish where people feel welcomed – but more than that – where they belong?” Continue reading