Relationships & Community

Connections that provide a space of belonging where we can be fully known to ourselves and others and learn to give and receive love.

Our spirituality grows within relationships.

We were designed to grow in the context of community. Humans haven’t evolved much since the Stone Age, and a basic human construct remains evident—our inherent need for social connection and community. We need relationships through which we can grow, experience love, and practice our spirituality. Because we are created to live in community, we are each designed with unique gifts that are parts of a greater whole, none complete without the complementary strengths of the other. Our calling to be unique, yet not uniform, is the thread of the intricate relational tapestry of life. Are you part of a community that allows you to feel known, loved, and held accountable?

A curated content list

Discover more about relationships and community

The Science of Relationships: Healing, Emotion, & Connection with Drs. Sue Johnson & Jim Furrow

We’re made for relationships. It’s knit into our DNA, knit into our purpose. But relationships are a kaleidoscope of emotions. And psychologists Sue Johnson & Jim Furrow are helping us understand more about the science of relationships, the role that emotions play in healing conflict, and how our human connectedness impacts human thriving.

From the Inside Out: Relationships, Mental Health, & Interpersonal Neurobiology with Dr. Dan Siegel

We are made for relationships. And psychiatrist, researcher, and clinical therapist Dr. Dan Siegel (UCLA) has found that emotional realities of our earliest attachment relationships reverberate through the rest of our lives. By opening up brain science and what he calls “interpersonal neurobiology” he’s helping people find emotional healing and wholeness, deep connection, and stable life-giving relationships.

A Practice: Questions to Improve Communities

What can communities learn from the enormous success of the Eras tour about love, support, and meaning for their members?

A Practice: Centering Prayer of Awareness

Awareness is a practice that allows us to train our mind and body, reorienting to the world around us.

An Integrated Life: Balancing Rigidity and Chaos

Thrive blogger, Amy Dunn, reflects on the concept of integration and how humans navigate the river of life, avoiding the rocky shores or rigidity and chaos.

Eras: Attachment doesn’t fade with Age (Part 3)

What can the church learn from the success of Taylor Swift's Eras tour? This is Part 3 of a 3-Part Series.

Eras: No Longer Emerging but not Quite an Adult (Part 2)

What can the church learn from the success of Taylor Swift's Eras tour? Read more in Part 2 of a 3-Part Series.

Eras: What do Taylor Swift and the church have in common? (Part 1)

What can the church learn from the success of the Eras tour? Part 1 of a 3-Part Series.

How Can we Reestablish Meaningful Connection in This Digital Age?

Dr. Pam King discusses the importance of creating transformative systems that will enable human thriving.

A Practice: How to Build Bonds With Others

Developing deep bonds with others requires effort. Ask yourself these questions for deeper understanding, and you might feel less lonely.

A Practice: Examine the Presence, Absence, and Quality of Your Relationships

This practice can help you examine the presence, absence, and quality of the relationships in your life.

Are you Supported by Healthy, Loving Relationships?

Healthy relationships lead to healthy spirituality.

Forgiveness: What it Means (and What it Doesn’t)

Understanding forgiveness is the first step to giving it. Try the practice here to begin the process.

Attachment Styles: Why Does Love Sometimes Feel so Difficult? (Part 1)

What do you need to understand about your attachment style?

Kids and Community (Part 3): How Can We Keep Kids in Church?

How do we keep young people engaged in church? This is part 3 of a 3-part series.

Kids and Community (Part 2): Adolescents and the Value of Loving Relationships that Display a Loving God

Why do kids need a community that models love, and what does emotional safety have to do with it. Part 2 of a 3-part series.

Kids and Community (Part 1): How to Find the Right One for Your Kids to Thrive

How do you find a community to support your family? What kinds of support help families grow spiritually healthy and thrive.

Created for Community (Part 2): The Human Connection in Healthy Spirituality

What does healthy spirituality have to do with our relationships? While our capacity for spirituality is hard-wired, our spirituality is in fact mostly developed relationally. We learn our beliefs and practices from others.

Created for Community (Part 1): How We Moved Away From our Village

Humans thrive within community, but our modern age encourages poor relational habits. Think about the nature of your relationships with the help of the practice in this post.

Questions to Promote Love and Meaning

Thinking through paths out of anxiety and fear   If it rings true for you that you need to train your brain to tone down anxiety and/or discover more about yourself – your sources of love and mattering, and your purposes – find a trusted friend or loved one or a small group and work through some of these questions together.     Getting in touch with love: What are your fundamental beliefs about being loved–for just who you are? Not what you do, but just who you are now?  Pause. Close your eyes, take 3 slow breaths–imagine God is looking at you and beholding you. What does God see? What are God’s yearnings for you right now? How does God desire for you to experience that you are God’s wonderful creation (Psalm 139)?  When do you tend to feel most loved and alive? What kind of pace and space do…

Summer 2023: What We’re Reading About Relationships

These books are inspiring us right now with their insights about improving the quality of our relationships.

The Friendship Edit: Creating Meaningful Connections in a Digital Age

Our relationships are central to our thriving; ideas about how to “clean up” and improve the quality of relationships.  

Womans hands on Bible

Can a Hug a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

You can get closer to those you care about with a little practice.

Rethinking Traditional Church for a Modern Age

Pamela King reflects on the church of her youth and how it deeply formed her identity, sense of purpose, and belonging.

Empowering Youth to Thrive With, Through, and By Faith

Dr. Meredith Hope discusses the role of religion in youth thriving and ways caring adults can help enable spirituality in adolescence.

A Practice: Love and Closeness and How They Fortify our Minds, Bodies, and Relationships

Love is necessary for wholeness. Read how you can get closer to those you care about.

Kids and Anxious Minds (Part 2): Practices to Help Kids Cope During Times of Anxiety

Student researchers share 3 research-based techniques to increase relaxation, support positive behaviors, and create a structured routine for kids.

Kids and Anxious Minds (Part 1): How Parents Can Support Children Struggling with Anxiety

Student researchers recommend 3 evidence-based interventions that parents can use to help regulate kids' stress and emotions at home.

Raising Emotionally Healthy Teens (Part 2): Emotion Regulation

Guest blogger, Leanne Bishara, discusses how transitioning to high school can be tough on youth. Discover how you can help them academically succeed through a growth mindset.


Gradations of Grief: Navigating the Days Following Tragedy

Grief comes in many forms. Dr. Stephanie Trudeau walks us through the intricacies of grief within our youth.

Mentorships as Catalysts for Youth Thriving

Research reveals the key characteristics that help mentoring programs effective in fostering youth thriving.


Helping Youth Rediscover Joy (Part 2): Vocation and Spirituality

In this part two post, discover how joy can be nurtured spiritually and vocationally in youth.

Helping Youth Rediscover Joy (Part 1): Body Senses and Connection

Learn how you can nurture joy in adolescents through their body senses and relationships.

Fostering Emotion Regulation in Teens

Teens learn to regulate their emotions by watching adults. Here are 5 parenting tips for modeling healthy emotional expression.

Raising Emotionally Healthy Teens (Part 1): Emotional Awareness

Guest blogger, Leanne Bishara, offers 3 research backed tips for fostering emotional awareness in teens.

The Three Religious and Spiritual Assets of Youth Thriving

Executive director, Pamela King shares the 3 dimensions of religion and spirituality that promote positive youth development.

Mentor speaking to adolescent

9 Principles of Effective Youth Service Organization

Research by the Thrive Center explores 9 principles that youth organizations can practice to effectively support and help youth thrive.

Parents playing basketball with their kids

What My Parents Did Right (When It Came to Sports)

A student researcher shares the integral role his parents played in fostering positive youth development through sports.

Survival of the Equipped (Part 2): Giving our Youth the Tools for a Thriving Life

Explore how youth programs can help teens strengthen the developmental assets that contribute to their thriving.

Child looking at light

Survival of the Equipped (Part 1): The Emerging Perspective of Positive Youth Development

Pamela King explores a developmental systems approach to understanding how ministries can better serve at-risk youth.

43 Content Resources

A curated content list

Discover more about Thrive's research

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

The Reciprocating Self

Human Development in Theological Perspective

1 Content Resources

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Healthy relationships lead to healthy spirituality.

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