I was terrified and didn’t want to go. I was so not about being by myself and not knowing anyone. I had experiences (not many) but where church kids kind of did their thing. Just groups in general do that. I was the new kid a lot because I moved so much as a kid and always showed up to the new team or in class and didn’t know anyone where these kids have basically been raised together.
They have inside jokes you want to be a part of. Sometimes you don’t know if they are making fun of you. But you just feel alone. IT SUCKS. Dude there are no many feelings that suck more than feeling alone and not wanted by others.
So when I went to this youth group or it was actually Younglife I was not about it. I just wanted to stay home because I didn’t want to feel even worse and just sit in a corner then here about Jesus and be a good person yada yada.
But you guys what happen that night saved my life, saved my soul, and changed everything in my life. EVERYTHING.
That night I did my best to stay in the corner and get through the night, but there I was met by a few people who loved the checkout of me.
One being the lady that owned the house, Mrs. Lewis, who treated me so well and welcomed me into her home, asked me who I was and what I did. She made me feel so welcomed. Then her daughter who was 2 years older than me had a conversation with me who connected me with another girl we went to school together with and then I met my 1st Younglife leader who was named Stefan.
These peopl listened to me, they loved on me, and they welcomed me into this group.
Few weeks later I was contemplating taking my life and a year later I gave my life in the hands of Jesus.]
In this Relaunch of the ministry my prayer for this ministry is that we are a place/group where you can find REAL Belonging. This is going to be a pillar or a value of our ministry.
There is a youth pastor I know who says that the greatest need of the human heart is to belong.
Man Jesus knew this about us. God made us in His image. He is in community Himself and we know this because When God created man He said “let us” make man in “our” image.
Father, son, Holy Spirit.
We were also created to Belong to God. Nothing else can bring us belonging because we are His. There is a longing in our heart to belong to God and belong to others.
I want us to look at a passage in one of my favorite books of the Bible to read which is Romans 12. Romans is a book of the Bible that is a letter and this letter is to the church that is in Rome. They are having racial and religious tension because you have the Jewish people who are trying to still live like jews following the Law of God, but they don’t need to anymore because of Jesus. Then you have the gentiles or greek people who are kind of living very loosely. They are at each others throats. Like they have had violent issues.
Then this guy Paul comes in who wrote the majority of the New Testament and he goes through this huge dive into what Jesus has done for them. He helps them realize they are both wrong and that Jesus died for their sins. He reminded them that they are not just a Jew or just a greek, but they have been adopted into this new family of followers of Jesus.
Breaks down social, gender, racial boundaries.
Jesus who said love your neighbor as yourself and love your enemies.
The in Romans 12 he goes into this awesome urge. This is is the same thing I am asking of you. These words should be so true of us. These words that Paul writes in Romans 12 should be the type of belonging you feel when you walk into this building and when you see these faces around you.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Honor one another above yourself may be the greatest trait that Jesus showed for us to replicate. He lived His life in a way that was sacrificial.
He did not do anything for personal gain or power, but His life was spent healing others, pouring his soul into the 12 that followed him, and loving those who opposed Him.
Jesus didn’t wait for the other guy to help others He was the other guy! Then people began to run to Him and people knew they would find love and belonging with Jesus.
His devotion is what sets Him apart. The genuine love and devotion to others is the thing that makes us think twice about. It’s what is different about Jesus.
Imagine someone showing you this kind of welcome or love?
What can that do for someone else who really is need, struggling to find where they belong, or is just down on themselves.
What if you were that person?
What if we were that kind of group?
My challenge is that is starts with you. You guys are what make this Student ministry what it is.
In this text there is a genuine idea of loving and doing life together. When you feel like you belong to a community. We can have that!
[I think of the movie The Greatest Showman there is a guy that starts the circus and he brings all of these misfits together. They are outcasts of society. The lady with a beard, the wolf man, and man with dwarfism. They are in a world that doesn’t see their soul, but sees their physical outward appearance. All of these people who were meant to be alone with no purpose or belonging.]
No matter who you are
What Reality Student Ministry is going to be a group that loves others sincerely.
No matter what you believe
What you look like
Who you are
The good news of Jesus unites us and we want you to experience the love of Jesus even if you or your friends do not know Jesus. But I want you to come to know Jesus through the people sincerely loving you.
Jesus welcomed sinners like me! And He welcomes all of us!
This one of the biggest reason we are going to do so much with small groups because we not only want you to belong, but be known. So tonight you are going to discuss the nitty gritty of what it means to belong.
I ask that you give it a chance and open up or speak up when you don't usually.