March 15, 2010
The Basic Human Longings
I have been thinking about my own small group currently gathering on Wednesday evenings in our home. As I think about the core people in our group now, and the people we are trying to reach out to as well, I wonder: What do these folks really need? How can we best help people in their spiritual journey?
Stephen Ministries in St. Louis, has done a good bit of research into this question. Based on surveys and conversations with thousands of individuals, both inside and outside the church, four primary longings have been identified that people look to have fulfilled. In the context of churches/small groups, these four needs are:
- Spirituality -- helping people experience Jesus and His saving power in their lives
- Community -- helping people experience Jesus in one other, giving them the sense that they are connected to a “body,” a loving community, as well as to the Creator and Sustainer of all things
- Care -- helping people experience Jesus in their pain and suffering. When many people are most clearly in need of the gospel and most open to God’s presence and the healing, saving power of Jesus
- Service -- helping people experience meaning, purpose, and significance by participating in Jesus’ mission in the world and being involved in something that is not only bigger than themselves, but also life-transforming and enduring
These longings make sense Biblically, as well. How well a congregation or small group meets these four longings can be a significant indicator of its overall health and ability to be in mission with Jesus.
posted by Dan Lentz on March 15, 2010 12:55 PM