Community is a common theme here.
We talk about it a lot. Probably because I think it’s immensely important and I do the writing sooooooo that may be the reason.
But how do we really build community?
I tell you to get to know your neighbours, meet people, invest in relationships, get into the messiness of their lives.
Nothing bothers me more than when someone says you should do something but doesn’t tell you how. You know what I mean, especially with church stuff; “know God more” “draw closer to God” “you should rely more on God” “God is at the door knocking, will you answer?”
Sure I’d love to answer if you’d just tell me, WHERE IS THE DOOR?!?!
In my attempts to reduce my own hypocrisy (note: I’m a giant hypocrite. I try hard not to be but I fail at it a lot) I don’t want someone coming here and say “Sure I’d love to build community IF I KNEW HOW TO DO THAT!?!?”
We’ll come back to this topic a bunch but to start a few easy ways to start building real relationships and community.
For me, and I’ve touched on this before, one good start is to follow up prayer with action. Start with prayer and finish with “and what I can I do here and now for you?”
Most people will be taken off guard and won’t have and answer. But offer something that could help. Someone struggles with stress? Offer to pray and then ask “what’s one thing I could take off your plate to help you feel less stress? Clean your house, make dinner, walk your dog?”
Make a real tangible offer when someone connects with you in crisis. Be with them in their messiness not on the outside hoping for good but step into it and bring light with you.
But what if it’s not crisis? What if it’s just a relationship you’re trying to build?
I’ve found that you should open your life to them. Share depth with them. Don’t attempt to show that your life is perfect but in natural ways share your life with them, good and bad.
No it’s not a good idea to walk up to your neighbour but and say “hey I don’ think we’ve meet I’m from next door. Also it’s important you know that I struggle with depression and the bank may be taking my house.”
But that doesn’t mean that when you’re chatting you hide that you’ve had battles with depression. Be honest and real and open about who you are. Set the tone that you’re ok with being real, it will invite them to be real with you. Don’t force it, but don’t hide your real life from them and just share some sort of picture you wish your life was.
Those aren’t the only ways but they are starts. Real relationships lead to community. Draw more and more people together in real relationship and you will have community.