DEVELOPING COMMUNITY

The ability to attract and motivate people to desire to serve together as a community, strengthen one another, take collective action, and generate solutions to common problems.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Developing a sense of community requires a leader to create a feeling of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to one another.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25

Skilled Characteristics


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    Welcoming

    Helps people to feel they belong and fit in with the group

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    Open to Input

    Gives people a voice and a level of influence within the group

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    Listens

    Is a good, active listener

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    Asks

    Asks people questions that shows that one cares and values them and their input

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    Roles

    Ensures that each person has a clear role and meaningful purpose within the group

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    Connector

    Promotes emotional connections and friendships among the group

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    Communicator

    Is a strong and personable communicator

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    Inclusive

    Promotes and encourages cultural and social diversity

“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

– Helen Keller



Unskilled Characteristics


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    Not a Learner

    Closed to outside cultures or other ways of thinking and doing things

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    Closed to Input

    Doesn’t proactively provide opportunities for people to be involved with and contribute to the group

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    Unclear Roles

    Is hands off in making sure people have clear roles within the group

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    Not Relational

    Doesn’t spend time getting to know people

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    Little Fellowship

    Doesn’t provide opportunities for people in the group to get to know each other or serve one another

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    Poor Communication

    Too little communication to and/or with the group

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    Lacks Clarity

    Fails to define and promote WHO the group is, WHAT they stand for, HOW they operate, and WHAT they do

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    Not Encouraging

    Fails to recognize, celebrate and reward individual and group accomplishments

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”

– Rollo May



Causes of Weakness


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    Experience

    Lack of multi-cultural experience

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    Top-Down

    Comes from an authoritarian or top-down leadership style or culture

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    Task Focused

    Overly focused on tasks or goals rather than people

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    People Skills

    Does not understand how to influence or motivate people beyond using their position power

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    Lack Examples

    Lack of experience working in healthy, thriving communities

“We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.”

– Cicero



Advice


Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.

  • Connector.

    Membership

    MEMBERSHIP: Clearly articulate who or what your group or community is. What do you do? What do you stand for? Why do you exist? What do you hope to accomplish? How does someone become a part of this group? What are the requirements? What are the benefits? People need to know what kind of group they may be joining. The more they know, the more committed of a decision they can make to either join the group or not. People have a need to belong, but they want to know what they are belonging to.

  • Connector.

    Shared Emotional Connection

    SHARED EMOTIONAL CONNECTION: How are you meeting the emotional needs of the people in your group? What programs, events, meetings, services, or activities do you provide or promote for your community to engage in that would allow people to connect with one another, share with one another, be real with one other, encourage one another, pray for one another, and have fun together?

  • Connector.

    Fulfillment of Needs

    INTEGRATION AND FULFILLMENT OF NEEDS: People need a sense that people in the community are able and willing to help one another and receive help in return. What methods, systems, gatherings, events, or communication vehicles have you put in place for people in your group to share their needs and share their resources with one another?

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    Influence

    INFLUENCE: People have a natural need to feel like they have a level of influence or a voice within a group. What mechanisms have you put in place to request ongoing input, ideas, and concerns from people in the group? How often do you do so? In what ways do you include more people when setting direction, making plans, or developiong goals? How do you involve people in planning and running events and activities?

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    Responsibility

    RESPONSIBILITY: The more people give of their personal time, skills and effort to the group, the more committed and the greater the sense of belonging people will generally feel toward the group. Look for opportunties to utilize as many people as possible in the daily, weekly and monthly operations of the group, and consider people’s skills and interests as you invite people to consider helping in various ways. Offer people significant responsibilities that they can feel proud about in their service to the group. Personal invitations often work best.