Most people like to feel connected with other people. We even pride ourselves in being connected. We have countless means and devices that keep us connected including email, facebook, the phone, snail mail and face to face communication.
Here’s the strange paradox. We have more ways than ever to connect but have never been less connected. I mean really connected. We have more devices and fewer devotions. We have more friends and fewer friendships. We have more connection points and fewer real connections. We have more links to other people than ever but more loneliness than ever. And yet we go out of our way to stay connected, in spite of its inability to really connect us.
I submit to you that God’s plan of connectedness is the church. I wonder what would happen if we were as concerned and committed to being connected with Jesus and his church, his body, as we are when it comes to other people. Church life takes on its greatest meaning and value to us when we are connected. Connectedness is what it’s all about. By ourselves we can do nothing. God never intended for us to be isolated islands.
One of the pictures of the church we are introduced to in the Bible is that the church is a body. And all the parts of the body are connected and functioning and are important.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. God made our bodies with many parts and He put each part just where He wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” … “Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” (1 Cor. 12: 12; 18-21; 27)
I want to invite you to examine and be totally honest about your degree of connectedness and at the same time identify the next step you can take to get more connected with the Body of Christ.
Here are some key ways to connect.
ARE CONSISTENT IN WORSHIP.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” (Heb. 10:25)
Connected people attend at least 3 out of 4 weeks each month.
FORMALLY IDENTIFY WITH THE CHURCH.
The difference between an attender and a member is like the difference between living together and getting married, commitment. Members are committed. They can be counted on. They want to be used by God to make a difference through the church. They refuse to be spectators. Church was never intended to be a spectator sport. Connected people identify with the church and get in the game.
“Christ loved the church and gave His life for it.” (Eph 5:25)
1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”
HAVE MULTIPLE MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CHURCH.
The Bible says, “Care for one another, Bear one another’s burdens, Encourage and build up one another, Forgive one another, Serve one another in love, Submit to one another.”
Studies show that each person needs to develop at least 7 meaningful relationships within the church family in order to get connected and stay connected.
ARE INVOLVED IN A SMALL GROUP.
A small group is a safe place to be real and work through life struggles with people who genuinely care about you. It is a place to also explore the truths and principles of the Bible in a practical and personal way in an environment of encouragement and support. Small group involvement is so vital to getting connected.
“Every day…in people’s homes they continued teaching the people and telling the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” Acts 5:42 NCV
EXPERIENCE A GROWING ADVENTURE WITH GOD AND KNOW IT.
The things that once consumed them and defined them become less important. It becomes less and less about possessions, pleasure, power, prestige, popularity and pleasing people and more and more about pursuing Gods purpose and pleasing Him.
“We make it our goal to please Him.” 2 Cor. 5:9.
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet 3:18.
ARE INVOLVED IN SOME KIND OF MEANINGFUL SERVICE THROUGH THE CHURCH.
Christians are gifted by God with special capacities or abilities. For what purpose? To impress others with our remarkable abilities? No! To make lots of money? No! Then what for? To serve others and to serve God by serving others.
“A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” 1 Cor. 12. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others. 1 Pet 4:10
SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Satan, your spiritual enemy wants you be financially irresponsible. In fact, he wants you to serve money. He wants you to worship money. He wants you to be under money’s power. He wants you to be a slave to money.
For most of you, the desire for pleasure, the desire to have more, and mostly the desire for money and what money can buy, will be the number one competitor for your heart.
Don’t miss that. The Bible says, “You cannot serve both God and money.” “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” “Many people, in the pursuit of more money, they’ve wandered away from the faith, and they’ve pierced themselves with many, many griefs.”
Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
SEEK TO REACH OUT TO OTHERS.
They have found the pearl of great price. They have unearthed the hidden treasure. They have won the big one. They have found what they have always needed. Somehow God provide a way for them to find Him and His family and a church that exists to please Him in all things and now they can’t keep it to them self. They must tell someone.
“Ýou are my witnesses.” Acts1:8
1. What is your current level of connectedness?
2. What is the next step you need to take to get more connected?
3. When will you take that step?