Did you know that the need to belong can feel almost as strong as a need for food or rest? We all need a “base”— a group of people who care about us, so that we can feel safe and refuel before going back out to make a difference in the world. If you work at it, a consistent meeting could provide this base.
You can provide this safe place and connection for the key people on your team, paid and unpaid, regularly enough that they count on and look forward to this time. Parents can provide this home base for their children and in the Orange strategy, small group leaders can provide this for the same group of kids each Sunday. What a win all the way around!
The role you play in ministry- the way you intentionally connect with others is crucial. Whether you are connecting with kids, teens, parents, volunteers or other staff members, you have a chance to offset any negative experiences from their week with positive ones. By connecting with others intentionally and regularly, you are saying, “You matter to me.” What an opportunity! And there’s no cost other than focus so you can really be 100% present– listening, clarifying and following through on what you say.
Successful Boeing CEO, Alan Mulally says, “Many of the strongest emotions we feel are influenced by the degree to which we feel connected to others. People seem to need frequent positive interactions with the same individual and they need these interactions to occur in a framework of long term, stable caring and concern.”
This isn’t true just for kids– it’s true for adults like you and me too if we’re honest! Gallup research has found that the single most important factor in whether or not people choose to stay in a job is the quality of their relationship with the person who seems to be in charge. Do your meetings build up relationships as much as they troubleshoot problems?
Think about someone in your life- past or present- that did a great job of making you feel like you belonged. You felt very connected to them and maybe even a particular group too. What words would you use to describe that person? What did they do- what specific actions (big or small) did they take- to make you feel so connected? What’s one way you can be more like that this week?
Use the comments below to write a special public thanks to that person with some of these answers so we can all be encouraged!