Joseph Myers in The Search to Belong, with the help of sociologist Edward T. Hall, identifies four kinds of spaces in which we find a sense of belonging. DISCIPLESHIP HAPPENS IN ALL FOUR OF THESE SPACES. Each intentional space has a unique purpose and set of expectations.
Our goal is to prompt each one of us to take a deeper step in our walk with Christ.
PUBLIC SPACE:A generously inclusive space for the “masses”
Public space is about sharing a common experience in a larger space, like a public worship service.
WE SHOULD EXPECT to come to worship with expectation of encountering the living God, prepared to listen to stories about the in in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, and leave with a renewed sense of purposefulness. We should not expect this space to do the challenging and long-term work of transformation.
WE SHOULD NOT EXPECT this space to do the heavy lifting in the long-term work of transformation. While this space may feel intimate to those participating, it isn’t meant to be a replacement for the smaller spaces where people can be vulnerable and practice accountability.
AT IT’S BEST, corporate worship becomes missional if it reshapes people to inhabit God’s story in their everyday lives.
COMMUNITY SPACE: The prime building block for the church. A generously inclusive space where people from all walks of life become a missional community.
Community space is where people select a community – people with whom they want to go deeper – to belong to. In our congregational setting, this space is more like a mid-sized group of 20 to 40 people. The It’s small enough for people to experience authentic community, but big enough to mobilize.
WE SHOULD EXPECT this space to facilitate deeper relationship building and lighten the load by spreading out the work.
WE SHOULD NOT EXPECT the deepest levels of vulnerability and accountability to take place in this space.
AT IT’S BEST, this space gives people a foretaste of the Kingdom, where people are known and, together, we’re living out love and relationships in meaningful ways.
PERSONAL SPACE: A generously exclusive space where relationships are deeper because of the trust we build through accountability.
Jesus discipled the disciples through constant invitation and challenge. Personal spaces of belonging are small by design, 5-12 participants, and are uniquely suited for a deeper formation.
In this closed and temporary space we invite people to live out a common rule of life and share in habits together that will help us to have eyes to see, ears to hear, and practices that will encourage us to live out the mission of God.
WE SHOULD EXPECT accountability to happen in this space because Christ calls us to help one another explore our unique struggles, hopes, and callings. In this space we invite and challenge one another to open up honestly. We create safe space a shared commitment to expectations and embracing the importance of keeping trust in the holding of one another’s stories.
WE SHOULD NOT EXPECT everyone to feel comfortable to participate (yet) and we shouldn’t assume this is space where we expect the “naked truth” of our lives to be fully revealed.
AT OUR BEST, The farther we move from the public space into personal/intimate spaces, the greater the accountability and vulnerability becomes and the more intentional we should be in fostering the invitation and challenge to walk with Christ into a hurting world.
Higher depths of accountability and vulnerability don’t come easy for many of us. Trust takes time to build. Whereas, we should assume that everyone is expected to go deeper, with each step they take with Christ, the stride and pace of those steps will vary dramatically. If you’re ready to step into something that promotes vulnerability and accountability, we’ll have a space for you now. If you aren’t ready yet, it’s ok. We’ll be ready when you are.
INTIMATE SPACE:A generously exclusive space where the “naked truth” is shared, without us feeling “ashamed”.
This is like the space Jesus had with Peter, James and John. Whereas, we aren’t yet ready to invest energy in creating intimate space, we want to be mindful of it’s importance!