There have been several words that I have learned in the “church-planting” world. Connection is up there with the best of them. Just about every church foyer, bulletin, or web site has this word blasted everywhere. But what does it really mean?
From my experience, it means, “this is where you can learn how to serve on a Sunday morning.” You can sign up to usher, park cars, teach a class, go to a class, or wipe the faces of the youngins. Just about every connection point has something to do with serving in the church, or going to a small group, where hopefully you don’t feel too awkward and you can actually build real relationships.
I’m not sure this is working too well. Unless you are really aggressive and want to be plugged in, this process can prove to quite awkward and cumbersome.
Then there is the connection card. Have you ever wondered what you are connecting to when you fill this out? Is it a card that connects me to someone or something? Is someone going to connect with me? What if I am not ready? Anyway, enough chasing rabbits.
Look, I am not against points of connection. I just think that it’s overused and people really don’t know what they are trying to connect visitors or new believers to.
When my friend and I began to dream about what church could look like, we issued our vision statement to reflect the desires that we felt the Holy Spirit was saying. This is what we came up with:
At KeyStone Church we want to:
Connect People to the Creator, so they may know who they are… their true identity.
Connect People in Community, so they can discover what they are, their true gifts.
Connect People to the Culture, so they may know why they are, their life call.
It’s pretty simple, but here is the cool thing, everything revolves around this mission. We live our lives in the simplicity of connecting people in this way.
Several months later, I was introduced to Mike Breen’s book, Developing a Discipling Culture. In this book he describes the balanced life Jesus lived. He lived Up, Connecting to his Father, In, Connecting to his disciples, and Out, Connecting to the culture. As I read those words it hit me like a ton of bricks! This is exactly what we were saying in a different way! I knew we were on the right track. We had the foundation in place to live a balanced life, just like Jesus did; and connect people in a way that they really needed and desired.
So having said that, we really believe that connecting people is really just living life in a balanced way. Jesus’ connection points were lived in the everyday ebb and flow of life. This is what we want to do, this is how we want to live. In balance.
I just received an email from a family that has been searching for community like we are experiencing at KeyStone. They are going through some tough times, and yet they know they are connected to a group of people who really love them. And we do. They haven’t filled out a connection card, went through a connection course, or signed up for connection groups. But what they have experienced is real connection to Jesus through real community. Their lives are changing because of what Jesus is doing through real connections. Through the everyday beauty of life.
If we could just practice these simple principles, I believe Connection will become more that a buzz word, it will become a way of life.
What are we trying to connect people to? If it’s not to the balanced life that Jesus lived, then maybe we are connecting them to the wrong things.