Pastors are the most powerful change agents in the world. Only one thing on earth will last forever—the body of Christ. That means, as a church leader, you’re investing in the most important entity on the planet.
The role of a pastor is particularly essential during difficult times. When people are hurting, they often turn to the Lord. In a crisis, they want to get connected to God and others. They’re hungry for spiritual, relational, and emotional connection. As the world has battled COVID-19 over the past year and a half, we’ve seen this hunger for relationships become more intense than at any other period in our lifetime.
It’s important, as pastors, that we model healthy connections and help people learn how to cultivate them in their own lives.
Here are 10 reasons why I believe connections are vital right now:
Connections are the essence of life.
The only reason our organs function properly is because they are connected to the body. They would wither and die if they were disconnected. The same is true of the local church. Our churches are living organisms. When we get disconnected from one another, our church withers. My goal as a pastor is to turn attenders into members and members into ministers. To do that, we need to get people connected first.
We’re created for connections.
This is why loneliness is so painful. Right from the start, God said it wasn’t good for us to be alone. Our primary job description as Christian leaders is to connect people to God and to other people. We’re to teach them how to love God with all their heart and how to love their neighbors. Your members need a spiritual family because they were made for relationships.
Love is the ultimate connection.
The number one secret to church health isn’t marketing, advertising, or some fad. It’s love. If your church genuinely loves unbelievers, you’ll see many people come through your church doors.
Connections help us understand life.
Connections enlarge our perspective. Without connections, we can’t see the purpose in our pain. The more we understand how things connect, the more we understand life.
Connections give our lives purpose.
When we’re connected to others, we can fulfill God’s purposes for our lives. Just like a disconnected toaster has no warmth and a disconnected TV has no picture, the same thing happens when we’re disconnected from God and our church community. Without connections, life would have no warmth, beauty, or direction.
Connections keep us growing.
It’s rarely enough to know the right thing to do. We need partners to help us stay focused on what God wants us to do in our lives. In fact, we need four specific connections to help us grow. We need mentors to coach us. We need models to show us how to live and minister over a lifetime. We need partners who are coworkers in ministry. And we need friends who support us no matter what happens in our ministries.
Connections help us create balance in our lives.
Memory is our connection to the past. Vision is our connection to the future. We need both. Without a connection to the past, we are rootless. Without a connection to the future, we’re hopeless. Without a connection to the present, we’re irrelevant and passionless. Without a connection to God, we’re powerless. We need all four.
Connections increase our confidence.
When you’re connected, you recognize that you’re not in a battle by yourself. You see firsthand that other people have been through what you’re going through right now. In fact, it’s the struggles that draw people closer together. You are more likely to be encouraged by the weaknesses of others, not the strengths of others. Why? Because they help us realize we’re not alone in areas where we come up short.
Connections make us more productive.
Your life will largely be determined by the quality of your personal connections. The better connected you are to God and to other people, the greater impact you will have on your church and your community.
Connections must be learned.
Connecting with God and other people is neither natural nor automatic. We have to learn it. Jesus came to teach us how to connect to God and to other people. And you can help your members learn how to cultivate these vital connections.
So, how can you create a framework in your church to better connect people to God and to each other?
By connecting your members through small groups.
Small groups are where your members will discover how to love God and others, share the Gospel, fellowship, grow spiritually, serve one another, and worship together.
Right now, as we’re experiencing one of the most transformative periods of our lifetime, your role as a connector cannot be exaggerated. I pray you’ll make it a priority in your ministry.