A congregation is not a family. We know this, and we know the problem with the metaphor: it can be exclusive, rather than inclusive. Most families are internally focused, difficult to join and fairly homogeneous. Families have unwritten rules and codes that define who is in and who is out, who is us and who is them.
New people coming to a congregation aren’t going to immediately feel like family members, especially if they’re different in some way from the tight-knit group already formed.
A yet, there is this: We are family because we belong to God through Christ. We are also family because of what we are called to do: Love each other, work together for justice and peace, share our gifts and talents and share responsibilities.
A congregation is not family. But it is part of the family of God.
This message is an excerpt from “Church Family” by Anne Edison-Albright in the November 2016 issue of Gather magazine.