Monday, September 28, 2009


Yesterday at The Journey we spoke of every person's desire to have a tribe to belong to. If we look at our lives we can often identify several tribes. I have attend several schools and universities, so in some way, they are my tribe. I have a favorite football team, so in some way, they are my tribe. The Journey Church is an evangelical church with evangelical doctrine, so in a way, that is our tribe. We are connected to several networks and affiliations, in a way, they are part of our tribe. You get the point. 

What I talked about yesterday is that all of us seek desperately to find community and relationships, but until our relationship with God is in the right place, we will put all of our focus on our other tribes, only to find ourselves still searching. Once we connect to God, we then must learn to connect to the tribe of God - the church. The church is called to be an important tribe in our lives. The church has many warts, short-comings, and scars, but that is because humans inhabit it. God designed for the church to be a tribe in which we found grace, mercy, and forgiveness. It is a tribe in which we gain acceptance, despite our flaws. 

Tribes also have a mission. The cool thing about the Tribe of God is that we are called to help people enter into our tribe, it is not exclusive. We help lead people to connect with God and others. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this: What do you think keeps people from embracing the Tribe of God? What has been the greatest thing in your life about being a part of the Tribe of God?


  1. What is one of the biggest things I think keep people from the Tribe of God:

    I think mainly b/c it seems our tribe doesn't look much different from other tribes in the world...we are called to be set apart...but yet for the most part when people look at our tribe it doesn't look much different.

    We need to truly be caring believers and whole-heartedly follow the true message of the tribe in order for others to really desire to be a part of it! I think about tribe mentalities etc...and think about how the true members were whole-heartedly devoted to the welfare of the tribe but most importantly would follow the leader of the Tribe to death..b/c they believed in him

    Greatest thing about being in the Tribe of God..that when finding true loyal members of the Tribe..they inspire me to be more loyal to the Tribe..they rejoice as I become more a part of the Tribe and most importantly they help me in my desire to want to follow the leader of the Tribe!

  2. It's easy to connect to God, He loves us and His love is unconditional. He seeks us, forgives us and restores us. The hard part is to connect to the tribe of God.That Sunday morning handshake is as close as you'll get to a tribe member.They have their little click's and cling to the"us four no more" philosphy.Often,Friendliness is
    conditional on attendance,and the polite greetings are a mere formality to brush past you to catch up with some friend they really want to talk to. Some judge you on what car you drive or what you wear. Do you work, how much you make,(cause that will mean they can expect a healthy tithe.Often a christian can attend, but never feel like they belong;always on the outside looking in.Trusting God-easy, but making oneself vulnerable to a bunch of people who can judge you so quicky,make blanket judgments about your life,and speak unkindly about you,can cause one to question why should one subject themselves to that?
    What I think keeps people from connecting besides finding a church that shares their core beliefs,is trust.

  3. There are too many reasons to count why others don't embrace Gods church. And some are more prevalent than others. But do you remember the guy in the book of Acts who tried to buy the Holy Spirit from Peter? What that man saw was amazing, or he wouldn't have wanted to buy it right then and there. As a church we have to believe we can call fire from heaven so others may see the awesome glory of the one true God!! Basically others need to see proof before they buy into the whole idea of the church. And the only way that is going to happen is by the love we show them. We cant sit in our bible studies and our sanctuaries hoping and praying for these people to come to us. We have to throw our poles out there and be fishers of men. We have to endlessly pursue others with the love of Christ Jesus! If that means going to prisons, the homeless, and the rejects than so be it we have to get equipped and go bring them back to the church not wait for them to come. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well he knew she would be there and it was a big deal he was even in Samaria, because the Jews would purposely travel around Samaria from Judea on their way to Galilee so they wouldn't come in contact with Samaritans (sinners). Jesus pursued her with his endless love and her life was forever changed. And thats exactly what we need to do.

  4. Just to push back a bit and give a missiological angle to think about when considering tribes, here is my .02 for what it is worth.

    Tribes share a common interest, a common language, a common ethos; they have a fellowship; and they have energy – there are no "drains" in tribes only "radiators", stimulating the senses and spirit of those among them.

    Discipleship, however, is often "extractional" (Frost and Hirsch) rather than incarnational. That is, many are quick to pull new believers out of their tribe into exclusively Christian social circles. The side effect is that it breaks the naturally existing social structure and hinders further spread of the gospel.

    While realizing that influence flows both ways, we must learn to value the tribes ("oikos" ancient Greek, household). These existing social circles are churches waiting to happen.

    As long as people are continually extracted from their tribe, the Gospel, faith, and church remains foreign. Churches must be (at least, in part) local and tribal.

    In other words, if a person must learn, appreciate, and join a different culture in order to belong to a church, it will continually loose its influence on existing social structures - tribes.

  5. Michael,

    I whole-heartedly agree with that. We spoke about this in our small groups. Once we join the tribe of God, we are to allow that life-change to permeate into our other tribes. I don't think we can become isolated Christians protected from a "bad" world and somehow think we are honoring the call to make disciples.

    Ultimately, followers of Jesus must learn to live in the tension of being a new creation and learning all the new aspects of what that means, but also learning how to spread influence in their existing tribes in order to shine as a city on a hill.