CHORUSpondence from Gene LeVasseur
In 1943, a psychologist named Abraham Maslow gave us a pyramid. Actually, it was a “Hierarchy of Needs,” illustrated by a multi-level triangle. Maslow was trying to show the layers of human needs and motivation. It goes like this:

The needs toward the bottom are about basic survival and safety, things like food, water, and not getting eaten by a bear. The middle needs are psychological, like relationships and the feeling of accomplishment. At the top is something Maslow called self-actualization, a term for achieving one’s full potential. One of the things that this Hierarchy of Needs teaches us is that people don’t typically search out the higher needs unless they’ve met the lower ones. In other words, you’re not going to worry about your self-esteem when you’re starving.

As I pondered this process, I thought about how this might relate to our faith journey. So here are my thoughts on our faith’s Hierarchy of Needs, starting from the bottom of the pyramid:

Survival. As we enter into our faith, we are trying to find a Savior from our sin and the evil in this world. We come to worship needing food (God’s Word), water (baptism), and warmth and rest (awareness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to comfort us.

Connection. When we feel secure and safe—we find a church where people feel unified in their beliefs and comfortable worshiping together—we begin to interact with people and, most important, connect with God.

Expression. The development of blessed assurance and biblical literacy. This is when we feel intimate, agape love for God and our neighbor, everyone. We realize that we are saved by God’s grace—our faith—and that we are saved for works. We find ways to serve with our time, talent, and treasure.

Engagement. This level made me pause. Maslow’s Esteem level is a risky one, in my opinion. There is a healthy awareness of self-esteem, knowing that God loves us so much that he redeemed us. There is also an unhealthy awareness of self-esteem, thinking, “I’m saved because of my faith,” therefore I can be self-absorbed in my way of life. I find that when I work at noticing other’s good works and building up others authentically that I am a bit more humble. I realize that I am still a sinner and fall short of God’s commandments.

Guidance. I am the eldest of five siblings and was often responsible for my brothers and sisters as children. My first profession was a public-school teacher for 25 years. I’m a father of three and have two grandchildren. Caring for and guiding young people is an absolute joy, and everyone who’s experienced this will tell you that they learn as much or more from their children as they teach them. This is the level where we realize that we are all ministers and pass on our faith by example and sharing the gospel.

There’s so much reward and fulfillment in becoming a “guide,” and when leaders and team members move to this level and begin to make an intentional investment in others, the Kingdom will advance and more glory will be given to the One we worship.

How can I move up the triangle past the survival stage? Right now, we have many opportunities to serve in worship ministry. I guarantee that if you connect with any of these teams you will deepen your faith through expression, engagement, and, ultimately, guidance. As I think about the hundreds of people at OSL that serve on ministry teams, I am inspired by their love of God and people. There is an absolute joy that I can see and feel from their spirit, and I thank God for that. May God bless you and your family!

“SING” cerely,

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