I’ve been at this community building thing a long time. A very long time. Learning about community and more importantly, building our own. The response of our community has played a very important role in our world after the recent death of our son. See also, This Is Why We Need Community.
For a variety of reasons the need for community is more desperate today than ever before. Broken families, job transfers that take people far from family and friends, concerns about safety and fear of strangers, and settling for entertainment all play a part in the need for community and a sense of family.
Here are 7 things I’ve learned about community:
- The desire to belong is innate. We come prewired with this desire. It is a higher felt need than becoming or impacting. See also, Would You Rather: Connect More People or Make More Disciples?
- The desire to belong is not equally obvious to everyone. Upon finding community, many people describe sensing that something was missing but not knowing what it was. See also, 5 Ingredients that Build Pervasive Community in Your Church.
- The desire to be known is very powerful. In some ways it is a precursor to belonging. Remembering names and points of connection is a weapon against which there is no defense. Imagine if everyone on your guest services team (ushers, greeters, parking team, etc.) simply learned one name every week!
- Unconnected people are always one tough thing away from never being at your church again. Without community, it is always easier to simply disappear when the hard things in life appear. See also, What’s Your Urgency Level for Connecting People?
- It is very common for people to feel more connected than ever before after a simple 75 minute connecting event. Many of the people in your church have never felt like anything other than a face in the crowd. Many of the people who attend your church drive into the parking lot, walk into your auditorium, sit for 75 minutes and leave without ever talking to anyone. See also, How to Connect People Using a Small Group Connection.
- True community is built over time and in between. Small groups that only connect from 7 to 9 p.m. on 2nd and 4th Thursdays cannot expect to build true community. It is what happens between meetings that plays the most important role in creating and cementing community.
- Jesus understood this important human need. He invited his closest followers to belong (to be with him) before he invited them to become anything. See also, Moving from “Come and See” to “Come and Die” and Even a Lizard Can Respond to “Come and See”.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.