Week Four: Including

We all love that feeling of belonging to a community. Strangely, in churches, our enjoyment of belonging can seem like a barrier to those who feel on the outside. When our social needs are met we have no need to look further— so we don’t. This week, set aside some time— either alone or with your ‘tribe’— to consider who might feel excluded from your group. Although you have not intentionally sought to overlook them, they feel unable to ‘break in’ to your group because it seems so tight.

Jesus went out of his way to include the socially outcast or spiritually discredited. Mark’s gospel records: “While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’” (Mark 2:15-16) Are there any ‘tax collectors’ at your church? How might you include them in your community?