True Belonging

Thomas Blevins

True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group or signing up for a gym membership. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. And when you’re willing to risk it all to belong to something bigger than yourself, you’re able to plant relational seeds in fertile soil and watch your spiritual roots grow.

On Sunday, April 8, 2018, 26 people took a risk and signed up for a four-week pilot class called Belong & Grow, a new partnership experience here at Northland. After spending time with these new friends each week (over meals provided by Olive Garden, Nature’s Table, Jason’s Deli, and Moe’s), it was clear that we all had one thing in common--we longed to be part of Northland and become closer to God and each other.

Throughout these weeks, strangers became friends as they explored the topics of the Story of God, Our Spiritual Gifts and Unique Personality, and how we're designed for community and service. We laughed together, shared stories, teared up, prayed over each other, and watched God do things that only He could do when we’re willing to set our agenda aside and surrender to His Spirit’s leading.

During the last meeting together, participants were given the opportunity to meet ministry leaders and learn how they could partner with Northland in all God is doing locally and globally. We celebrated our time together and God’s blessings with hugs, high-fives, free gift bags (including a Belong & Grow T-shirt), and a cake that would bring Duff Goldman to his knees!

Belong & Grow created an opportunity for a big church to become smaller. This experience helped us see that our longing to belong can’t be satisfied by just attending church; it’s found in a relationship with Jesus and a growing relationship with others. I had a front row seat to watch lives be changed and chains be broken, all because a handful of risk-takers committed to a four-week adventure with each other and Jesus. But what may have been the most compelling moment for me was to see these 26 extraordinary people -- that we can now call Northland Partners -- find true belonging and a spiritual family that they could grow with.  

If you’ve been longing for a way to belong and grow here at Northland, there’s good news! You can sign up today to experience this life changing next step in your journey! This class is open to everyone from those new to Northland, to the longtime attenders. Our next Belong & Grow class is on Sunday, June 3. Classes run from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., and both lunch and childcare are provided. Register today and get a free high-five from me on June 3!

Contact Lauren Travers for more info at or by calling 407.949.4000.