Relevant Magazine recently posted an interesting article (6 Things Every Strong Community Needs) that got my brain pondering: Community
Here are their six headings, and my comments.
Sometimes we have to purpose to become community. And other times, it just happens.
This can happen in school, work, church, or your neighborhood. You may have kids all in the same grade or sports team, you may meet in a coffee lineup every day, or share a hairdresser…. Community is happening all around us.
We have to be intentional to plug into it.
Not everyone is going to be just like you- in looks, quirks, likes or gifts/talents. I recently commented to a few of my closest friends that we all seem to have one skill we are able to use to bless one another in an area that person is needing a hand in. It is awesome how we can become so much more when we pool our resources, and encourage one another to be ourselves in healthy ways.
A Willingness to Embrace Awkwardness
Getting close to a group of people you don’t know can be very awkward…and I should know. I much prefer to write or sing it versus speak it to people. Its not a matter of feeling scared, but in feeling I won’t be accepted if I show who I really am. Yet, once we feel safe in community, this can be a wonderful picture of true caring for one another in being a safe place to land when you need it. This leads to….
Being able to be yourself with a group of people is a precious aspect of community. Yes, there will be disagreements as no group of people will agree about every thing all the time. The freedom to be open in a respectful way where everyone is honored is a vital piece of a strong community.
The Ability to Have Fun Together
If you have a good mix going on in your community, this will naturally occur once people feel free to be themselves in a safe respectful environment. I remember a few people I worked with at school meeting with me for coffee, who made the comment they didn’t know how funny I was. I replied, “When you are lunch monitoring preteens, you can’t let them know you are fun loving, you need to show your work face.” :). Don’t do so much work that you never take time to relax and unwind with one another over coffee, a movie, or a group outing.
If all feel welcome, you are showing a healthy community to those looking in from the outside. There are times when you are in a set few weeks where you are intently studying something, and a new person in the mix for those meeting would be awkward all round. That’s why every month I lead my ladies group, we have a fun night built in somewhere. Maybe coffee at the nearest book store, maybe second hand shopping, sometimes a movie night. A time when anyone is welcome to come and hang out.
God invites us into community with Him in these six ways too:
Intentional. God intentionally invites us all to come.
Diversity: God welcomes everyone from any & all backgrounds.
A willingness to embrace awkwardness: I think Jesus demonstrated this by reaching out to us all right where we are at.
Openness. God is 100% approachable, all the time. The ability to have fun together. God is great company, and people who hang out with Him are able to find joy in His Presence 🙂
Inclusive. All are welcome to join His family. The perks come from. the privileges you are blessed with when you are in.
I find I am able to maintain my hope and focus on God when I feel connected, and a part of community:
At home with my family.
At work as part of the team.
With my closest friends.
But especially in my walk with God.
What do you feel you need as a healthy aspect of community?