As a youth minister, I find myself spending a ton of time helping people belong and feel comfortable at RCC. I want kids to feel known and loved. I want parents to feel listened to and secure in the fact that their families are safe. I want volunteers to feel useful and appreciated. I want Reddington Christian to be a place that people walk in and breathe deep; place of belonging; a place of unity.
There is something comforting about being with people that understand your daily joys and challenges in the core of who they are.
Growing up in Tennessee, we all shared a love for the same college football team. You could be in a heated argument with someone in my hometown, bring up the Vols, and suddenly be talking like old friends. Common ground is powerful.
We feel a certain comfort within our tribes. That tribe could be family, friends, workplace colleagues, sports teams, churches, schools, or even civic organizations. Those communities are often the people that understand us and share our goals.
Steven Spielberg gave the commencement address at Harvard University in 2016. In his speech he said:
“Now, I don’t have to tell a crowd of Red Sox fans that we are wired for tribalism. But beyond rooting for the home team, tribalism has a much darker side. Instinctively and maybe even genetically, we divide the world into ‘us’ and ‘them.’ So the burning question must be: How do all of us together find the ‘we?’ How do we do that? There’s still so much work to be done, and sometimes I feel the work hasn’t even begun.”
We deeply love and defend our tribes, but we also have the power to wound our tribe in an instant.
Conflict slows progress in any tribe. But, as Christians, we can not afford to slow the progress of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our tribe has no other choice but health and community.
The most beautiful example of unity in Scripture to me is the First Century Church in the book of Acts:
“All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all.” — Acts 4:32-33 (NLT)
The Early Church was unified in everything and the message of Jesus spread like wildfire. I have hope and confidence that the same is true 2000 years later. In all areas of our lives, Christians are called to unity.