1 Corinthians 12:12 "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ."
Hopefully we are all aware of the beautiful illustration we become as we, being different, come together as a body of believers to make up the Body of Christ; it's truly a wonderful thing to witness.
While pondering and thinking on the subject of commitment to the Body I'd like to share a thought in regards to how to make those connections stronger, more meaningful. The goal is to go deep in our connections to each other and cause a tighter bond to the rest of the body.
I'll relate it to the natural
Our body's biggest organ is the skin, and it's comprised of three layers: The Epidermis, which is the top layer that is comprised of dead cells and it's brushed off. The Dermis, you can't see because it's hidden under your epidermis. The dermis contains nerve endings, blood vessels, oil glands, and sweat glands. It also contains collagen and elastin, which are tough and stretchy. Then The Subcutaneous Layer is made mostly of fat and helps your body stay warm and absorb shocks, like if you bang into something or fall down. The subcutaneous layer also helps hold your skin to all the tissues underneath it. This layer is also where the start of growth happen.
With that said, there are three layers of connection to the body we need to move people through.
The shallowest, but still important like our epidermis, is called acceptance.
Acceptance is fleeting and arbitrary and often external or a felt craving. The need to feel accepted is very important and it's the easiest to address because it's often the easiest "seen" need to meet.
Next is the dermis, if you will, called belonging.
Belonging is grounded in something more permanent. This is where we move people from just simply feeling like they are a part of something into the knowledge that they are intrinsically connected to a place, or people, beyond themselves.
If people don't know why the should belong to something, or how they bring unity to that something to some degree, there is little reason for them to stick around.* (*quote from the book: The Slow Fade)
The third level is, committed, much like the Subcutaneous Layer . When people feel accepted and know they belong they will make the commitment. Sounds simple and no doubt many would say they are committed, but the truth is many just linger around accepted.
Committed people look for ways to volunteer, instead of being asked to volunteer.
Committed people don't leave over offense, instead they look to bring healing over offense.
Committed people don't have to be asked to give, they have to be asked to stop giving.
Committed people are committed to change and help make it happen, rather than notice a change has taken place.
Committed people honor the past experiences but are ultimately focused on changing the status quo and influencing tomorrow.
Committed people live as one.