Faith Sharing; Stories from the Church Family and the Importance of Connection

The Need for Relationships with Others Goes All the Way Back to the Beginning

This past Sunday was another faith sharing Sunday. Pastor Lee shared stories from the congregation about the life affecting interactions with the people in the church.

God said that it wasn’t good for us to live alone so…

He made a partner for Adam. Someone to go through life’s struggles with and share in the joys. Genesis 2:18

There is no question how important it is to interact with other people. This is as evident as ever over the past couple of years.  The separation that many people have experienced has been difficult. As people have tried to cope with separation there has been an increase of suicides and drug overdoses.

Spending time with others is vital to our wellbeing. I have a friend who is developing a program for being the best version of ourselves. Part of this course includes CONNECT-ability. This shows how important the connection with other people is to us being our best.

One of the things she shares is Maslow’s Hierarchy which shows the five levels of human needs to be the most completely satisfied. This hierarchy starts at the bottom with the need to have our most basic needs of survival met. The second is security; having a job, stable income, savings, etc.

Third is LOVE AND BELONGING – this addresses the social need of belonging. We are social creatures that crave interaction with others. When deprived of this, individuals experience loneliness and depression.

This connection may not even be a direct one. Sometimes it happens from a distance.

People see how we act and if those actions are consistent with things we say.

It’s also not restricted to adults. Pastor Lee shared a joke that one young man of the church wrote. It is evident that he has a connection because he heard this in church.

The joke –

If Jesus went to the Temple to learn and the Temple is the House of God…does this mean that Jesus was home schooled.

His connection with the church is part of him becoming who he’s meant to be.

Interacting with others makes us better people. Proverbs 27:17 As we join together in love, we will be wonderfully blessed. Colossians 2:2-3 Whenever two or three of us come together in His name, He will be there. Matthew 18:20

Fellowship, relationships and connection to one another are foundational for our wellbeing, growing and becoming who we are designed to be.

Strong Connections Help Us to Accomplish Our Mission

The Important Thing is to Be Clear on That Mission

There is strength in numbers. We don’t have to look very hard to find evidence of this. Fish gather in schools, bees in swarms, birds in flocks, cattle in herds, wolves in packs. These connections can help avoid being eaten by predators or by joining forces they can take down bigger enemy.

The same is true for the military. Research has shown that groups who collectively experience pain, turmoil, catastrophe, or significant life events tend to form stronger social bonds and become more cohesive.

I’m currently reading the book, “Lone Survivor”, this is the story of Marcus Luttrell. He was the only survivor of the extraordinary firefight on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border which led to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history. The strength of the bond between these SEALs was evident before I even finished the prolog.

God knew there was strength in numbers from the very beginning.

At each point in the creation story, God steps back and says that what He has made is good, up until He makes human beings. Having made Adam, our Creator steps back and says that something about the first man and his situation is not good: “It is not good that the man should be alone”. To make things right, God creates Eve…  Genesis 2:7, 22

In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, we’re told that, Two are better than one…

Three strands of rope are harder to break.

The importance of community is as evident now as ever, after this past year. The value of online masterminds and the connections I’ve made through the virtual groups has been amazing. Not to mention the connection of my family and my church.

Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches in John 15:1-8. Whatever vine the branches are connected to will determine what kind of fruit the branches will produce. He also says that if we aren’t bearing fruit, we will be cut of and thrown into the fire.

The clearer we are about what our mission is and the better connection to the vine, the better the fruit will be.

Get connected to the Vine and to other good branches and produce good fruit.

The Importance of a Physical Connection

It is Foundational to Who We Are

Pastor Lee has asked the congregation to share their testimonies periodically over the last year. These have been titled, “What Tisdale Means to Me”. This was the message this past week.

Garth and Amy shared what Tisdale means to them from different perspectives. Garth has a long-term family connection, while Amy’s connection happened later in her life. Both shared fond memories and the importance of the warm welcoming feelings of a church family.

I certainly can relate to these feelings. Having grown up in this church the connection I have there is a foundational part of who I am. The current situation while we aren’t physically gathering together is depressing. I miss my church family. I’ve never been a big hugger, I am a handshaker…

I’m looking forward to some handshaking and yes, even some hugging.

I hear a lot about how the current state of online social connection is going to replace much of the physical connection, this concerns me.

We are made to be connected physically.

When Jesus was here on Earth people were always reaching out to touch Him and that simple act of touching healed them, Mark 6:56, Luke 6:19 and 18:15-16. Jesus’ act of healing people often involved touching them, Mathew 9:29 and Mark 1:41-42.

For years I’ve heard about the importance of physical touch to babies and children. In a 2010 article by Katherine Harmon, she points out the importance that skin-to-skin contact has on infants and children. She points out that, “babies cry less, sleep better and their brain development is facilitated”, when they are touched.

In another article, “Importance of Human Touch”, written in 2017 by Mary Bauer, it is explained that not only is touch important to child development, but also to the elderly and aged. “Results from a study published in “Current Biology” in 2015 suggest that humans derive pleasure from touching…”.

We were made to share and connect through community. As thankful as I am that we can connect through social media and online formats.

It is no substitute for real live personal connection.

We will not survive science fiction like long distance relationships. That is not how God made us. We were made to be physical.