Community doesn’t just happen. It is intentional, strategic and requires planning and goal setting in order for it to become a reality. That’s how things materialize in our lives. If we want to get out of debt but never create a structured budget to live by we usually go deeper in debt. If we want a healthier marriage, but never cultivate our relationship by doing little things, calendaring a date night, a weekend away; healthy doesn’t just happen. Likewise, if your going to internalize the value of community we have to realize what it takes to see it materialize in our lives.
- We have to set goals for community. WHY do you want community? WHAT do you want your community to be focused on? WHO do you want to be a part of your community? WHEN will community happen for you? These are all questions that have to be answered. Your goal might be to gather 10-12 people around a certain activity, or maybe just a few focused on a good book and coffee. You may be interested in getting together with singles, young couples or maybe others who are in the same season of life. You may want to gather once a week, every other week, or maybe once a month is all you can handle as you juggle the other areas of your life. If you don’t set goals for community it will be sure to never happen. Goals bring clarity and purpose to your pursuit of community. It has to be something you are excited about or community becomes a grind not an exciting goal.
- We have to build framework around community. When I go to the gym I go with a routine and plan in mind with an idea of how long I’m going to be there. I don’t walk aimlessly around the gym for hours trying out all the machines and picking up all the dumbbells. I know I’m going to work out 3 times a week, I know what I’m going to do, and I know I’ll be there for at least 60 minutes. It is the same concept with community. I go into my week knowing I’m going to exercise the community muscle in my life. Tonight, it’s dinner with a couple at 6:30, tomorrow it’s coffee with a few friends, Thursday lunch with a friend. Community only materializes when you strategically build it into your life.
- We have to create community with people that build us up. Your connections need to encourage and strengthen you. If community for you means anxiety and exhaustion it’s a sign that your not receiving the benefits that healthy relationships can bring to your life. That doesn’t mean we ignore unhealthy people, but it does mean we put up boundaries by surrounding ourselves with healthy people that are listening to us, speaking life over us, and walking through life’s challenges when they come our way. Community doesn’t mean you just give, give, and give. No, you have to receive so you can give.
Just to remind you again, community is a spiritual discipline. I have to set goals for why I’m doing it, build a framework around it, and do it with people that are bringing encouragement and strength to my life.
What does your plan for community look like this week?