We all have one.
Some may want another one, but they make us who we are.
A few months ago I took on the leadership of a group that meets on the campus where my church gathers called the Family Room.
The Family Room is a unique group. We gather together on Sundays, we sing songs with a live band, we listen to a message that is broadcast live on video (well most of the time it’s a video, but about once a month I do the teaching live in the flesh), we try and foster community and growth and service, and of course we drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of pastries.
We are kind of a church within a church.
The Family Room has lots of families - most with small children. Our gatherings are a bit less formal, we have an intermission, we have snacks, we incorporate kids into our program all because we love families and want to create a space to bring the family together. But its not just families. Singles, younger couples, and empty nesters are finding their way to the Family Room and finding a home.
They don’t have a “family” so why do they feel connected in the Family Room?
This question has me revisiting and redefining my concept of family. Here are some thoughts.
Families are bound by blood.
We can’t see it, but the DNA we share with our families connects us to our parents, siblings, ancestors, and to our history. These invisible bonds draw us to one another:
- creating relationships where they really shouldn’t exist
- forming alliances amongst enemies
- allowing for forgiveness in the midst of incredible pain
What stronger tie can we have than Jesus’ blood?
Families share spaces.
Whether it’s a house, apartment, car, tent, or the place we gather as a church we build our home with the people around us. They are our family. We learn who they are, what they like, and what we don’t like about them. Bumping up against someone, the same someone, day after day gives us an appreciation for their person and forces us to think, even if just for a moment, about someone other than ourselves.
Families share moments.
The Good Moments – we talk about them. They consume us with joy and drive us to celebrate with the ones we love. Nothing says party like a good ol’ church potluck and we have them in the Family Room!
The Bad Moments – we show them. Words aren’t needed, it’s written on our faces. A kind word, a hug, or taking time out of the program to pray can be a game changer for one of our own that is hurting.
The Ugly Moments – we hide from them and the ones we care about. Disappearing and pretending to be invisible may bottle up our pain, but our absence tells the true story. It’s hard to get lost in a family.
Families help each other.
We may not like asking, but we know that the family has our back. A phone call, text, email, or shout will bring help running. It might be a few bucks, a meal, or the use of a pickup and some muscle to help with a move, but family comes through.
Sometimes people can feel lost and disconnect a large church, but I assure you, all of these things can, and do, happen in even the largest of groups, but only if we leave space for them. If we want to feel connected we need to make room for the family not only in our homes, but in our churches. Here are some practical ways:
- Don't adjust your family around activities, adjust your activities around the family, church family included.
- If your church is large with many gathering times - commit to one. Seriously just pick one! If you bounce around its hard, if not impossible, to be part of the family.
- Get to know SOMEONE in your church! Not everyone, just someone. Connect with another family, couple, or single in your church and just hang out. If you can't figure out what to do, try cooking and eating (everyone loves to eat).
- Take the classes. Your church has some sort of plan for assimilation, but it only works if you engage in it. You may think you know everything and you probably do, but...TAKE THE CLASSES ANYWAY!
- Find a way to be needed and serve somewhere in your church. They need the help. TRUST ME!
How do you make room for the family? in your home? at your church?