Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a group. Belonging happens when an individual can bring their authentic self to the table without fear.

I believe, as I said last week, that belonging is one of the great needs of our world. These past few years have caused deep division in every facet of our society. Those divisions have caused people to become isolated, a condition that was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last night I spoke with a church member who said that her son had not seen his coworkers, except for on a computer screen, for the last 18 months. Such isolation causes fear, fear causes anxiety, and anxiety threatens to undo us.

I write all of this to you to remind you that we need each other, that the world needs us to be place where people can find a deep sense of belonging in Christ, and a people who welcome and invite others to take a step of faith toward Jesus. We need each other because when we are together we are more than just the sum of our parts, we become the body of Christ, God’s real presence in the world redeeming and reconciling the lost and hurting. We need each other for encouragement and endurance.

I have been inspired this week by the number of you who have shared with me how much belonging to the community of faith at Pittman Park means to you. My hope is that together we can draw the circle wider to welcome and embrace those who are far from Christ, but near to us, with a sense of belonging.

In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon writes:
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.

We need each other for the work of ministry, for good return on our efforts, and for love and support throughout all of life’s seasons.

Thank you for allowing me and my family to belong at Pittman Park! I’m proud to be your pastor and proud to be a part of a church so committed to Making Disciples and Transforming the World!

God bless,
Jonathan Smith
For Jesus. For People. For Community.