Here you will find resources of knowledge to help direct you in the desire for community in your life. The focus of this blog is to concentrate on practical advice that reveals insights into how human beings were designed to live and function together. When applied correctly, this information should bring forth a rich and effective experience of community in your life.
Just a quick note to address the reason for my absence in recent weeks. It’s because I’m working on a new e-book tentatively titled “X Tips for Building Healthier Small Groups and Communities.” There’s an X because I don’t know exactly how many tips there will be yet. Also, the title is just tentative as mentioned. After I finish it, I will be working on finalizing the title so it’s more “market-y.”
I’m not exactly sure how long it will take me because I’ve been backing off a bit on writing and working on the blog a bit lately. A recent book I read (Making Room For Life) encouraged me to adjust my lifestyle out of a workaholic-type structure to a healthier structure. More specifically, I’ve started to try and follow the Hebrew day schedule. Without getting too specific, it basically relegates productivity time to the day time and relaxing and relationships to dinner time and beyond. Of course, it also employs a Sabbath day rest as well.
Needless to say, if you’re not working all the time, you get less work done. But, you’re healthier, which is the point. I’ve been doing it for a couple months now and I can say that it definitely works better. I don’t get burnt out as much and I think I actually achieve more productivity per minute of working than I used to. I even heard my wife say recently – “You’ve been getting a lot of stuff done.” Weird how things work better when we do them God’s way :).
Anyhow…I just wanted to let you all know that I didn’t disappear and hope that you’ll find the current work I’m doing valuable when it’s finished. Blessings to you!
Attempting to love your neighbor as yourself can be discouraging. There are times when you can feel alone in your endeavors. You might feel like you’re the one who always has to do the initiating. You might feel like your effort is disproportionate to the effort of those around you.
It’s at these times when the temptation to retreat into an individualistic lifestyle will feel quite strong. You’ll start to think thoughts like “I can survive just fine on my own. Why should I put all this effort into these relationships when there’s not much reciprocation?”
Control breeds loneliness
If you feel alone, your problem may be the one I’ve dealt with along the way…you’re trying to do it ALONE. And if you’re trying to do it alone, it’s likely that you’re doing so because you want to be in control. You want the activities to be what YOU plan. You want them to be when YOU want them to be. Because you think you know what needs to happen. If this is the case, you can bet you won’t have much success with experiencing something organic and healthy.
One of two things are bound to happen. 1) You turn into an institution with top-down control or 2) you disintegrate. I can testify of personal experience with both. I’ll share just one of them now.
People are going to bug you. Of course, you never bug them, right?
One of the biggest obstacles that exists in the development of relationships and community is how we handle annoyances. The truth is most of us aren’t very good at it. Most parents don’t train their kids at it because most parents aren’t trained at it.
The problem here is that in the places where people don’t learn how to handle these situations, there you will find a lack of community. Or you will find a young community that hasn’t imploded from within yet.
Truth be told, this is one of the main reasons why the institutional church structure is so popular in many cultures (although most people aren’t cognitively aware this is the case). It limits annoyance between people to as low of a level you can go and still feel justified enough to call yourself a “community” of believers. You get together once in a while, have very little interaction, and you can always retreat to the comfort of your own home or flee to another institution (who hasn’t done THAT before right!?).
The best way forward, then, is to invest time in relationships with those who seem open and responsive. When you sense that people are responding to your efforts to neighbor well, then invest time and energy in them. If they don’t, be secure enough to move on.
As a person grows more mature in Christ, a by-product of this growth will be an obvious attempt to love their neighbors more consistently over time. But, this does not mean the neighbors will always be liked…or that they’ll always like you! It also doesn’t mean they’ll be as interested in a relationship with you as you are with them.
Yes, technology and architecture have been major factors in the destruction of the experience of community in our culture. If you so dare to take the plunge and swim upstream against these cultural currents, there’s an obstacle you will encounter that’ll be the hardest of all to deal with. It may be the biggest reason we’re so attracted to the types of churches that are prevalent today. It’s people’s emotional issues.
As we all know from experience, it’s inevitable (no matter how much you like someone) that you will eventually encounter unhealthy issues inside of everyone that you develop relationships with. This is when the fun ends and the hard work begins.