I was raised in the church. I know what it means to have a church family—a community of people who truly love and care about your spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. I know what it is to have people in your life who rejoice in your accomplishments and love you enough to mentor you and hold you accountable for your actions or near-actions. And I couldn’t be more thankful.
But what makes these relationships truly special is the consistency and longevity of my Church family relationships.
As a young mother, Shirley spent Sunday mornings teaching me to sing “Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain”, “I’m Inside, Outside, Upside, Down, I’m Happy All The Time”, and countless other children’s praise songs. And when it was my turn to be a young mom, she was there to mentor me, love me, and minister beside me… and she still is.
A couple who served as youth sponsors when I was a teenager are now occasional babysitters for my grandson.
Three couples from my husband’s home church with whom my husband and I went through pregnancies and the early years of parenting are still among our closest friends. We have dinner once a month and go on a yearly weekend getaway together.
Of the 463 ‘happy birthday’ wishes I got on Facebook on my birthday, 379 of them were from my brothers and sisters in Christ—people I have or currently worship and serve God with.
Yes, I have been blessed beyond measure with the community of a great church family. These people love me, encourage me, challenge me to search deeper, pray harder, trust more fully, and fear not.
But I also know what it is to not have that source of spiritual, emotional, and physical support. For a period of three years, John and I were part of a church that didn’t welcome us into their family. It was an awkward situation. It was also painful. We wanted to be part of their family. We tried to be part of their family. But it just wasn’t happening.
The experience wasn’t without its merits, though. In going through the situation we gained and even deeper appreciation for what we’d had and what we now have again. We also became more conscious of making sure that no one walks through the door of our current church without making them feel welcome and wanted.
So when I talk about the value of a church family and how it affects your faith, I know what I’m talking about. I know that…
- A church family gives you courage to live out your faith in ways you wouldn’t otherwise do so
- A church family provides opportunities for you to minister to others and with others and participate in group praise and worship
- A church family provides opportunities to grow in knowledge and wisdom of the Bible
- A church family gives you opportunities to give of yourself to others
- A church family provides you the necessary environment to learn and grow your spiritual disciplines
A church family is also God’s intention for his children. So embrace your church family, be an active part of your church family, and let your church family be the blessing God intends it to be.
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~ By Darla Noble