In Community, Together

Group of multigenerational people hugging each others - Support, multiracial and diversity concept - Main focus on senior man with white hairs

Our Lead555 mission statement is, helping leaders tackle big systemic problems together in community.

Today, we dig into reasons why we ‘tack on’ in community. Is it because the idea of community makes us feel warm and cozy? Or are there other reasons?

I’d like to offer five reasons why community is essential to our mission.

The Spirit Reason

I could have said the spiritual reason. But then you’d think the other reasons were not spiritual. The Spirit Reason for community springs from at least two concepts found clearly throughout the New Testament. They are the Koinonia that we are called to live. Koinonia is the fellowship we have with another and the Holy Spirit. It’s the Body’s life, with Jesus as the Head. It’s the heart of community. God could have called the Church into being without any reference to society or social life. But He didn’t. He made clear that following Jesus is a social matter. 

The second concept is also from the Body metaphor. We are members “one of another”, Scripture says. As each part of the Body has a function to serve the rest of the Body, so do we. We have functions that complete each other. These abilities are given by God – gifts to the Body. The gifts are received and activated when we, as individuals, function within the social structure of the Body, edifying one another.

There’s much more to be said about this, but hey this is a blog, not a book!

The Encouragement Reason

Of course, all of these are overlapping and interdependent reasons. But it’s worth pointing this one out. Groups of Christians, and in the case of Lead555, Christian leaders, are not meant to struggle through life alone. Although leadership can often be lonely, it doesn’t have to be as lonely as we make it. Leaders need regular encouragement. Our enemies try to get to us psychologically and socially – to make us feel we are the only one who understands. Without close relationships that are encouraging, too often, leaders look for it in the wrong places and end up in corporate, moral, and spiritual failures. In essence, we turn to other gods for our encouragement and comfort.

This is ever so much more important when tackling big problems. Big problems are invariably complex, requiring long-term complex solutions. The rewards or successes are far off. This journey, before seeing any results, is what I have called the valley of bones. It’s where good leaders end up dying of failure and loneliness. The lesson is, let’s do this together and support each other, not work alone.

The Effectiveness Reason

You could call this the managerial reason or call it teamwork. I don’t have to convince you of the importance of teamwork. We work better at tasks when we work together, taking on task functions that fit our talents. Yet often leaders want to do it themselves. They don’t want to be vulnerable, give up decision-making, allow for risk, or consider differing points of view. But in the end, if it’s big problems we are tackling – it simply cannot be done without the contribution of high-functioning teams. The output of high-functioning teams is greater than the inputs of its individual parts. 

The Critical Mass Reason

Ok, so that’s a physics term. Other similar concepts are tipping point, breakthrough, or counting the cost. An example of this is in Luke 14. A leader counts the cost of how many resources he needs to tackle a problem of a certain size. Big problems usually are bigger than any one leader or organization can handle. Leaders at this stage often make one of two mistakes: They fail to truly define the nature, depth, and scope of the problem they want to address. Or, they understand the scope but decide that “doing something” is better than doing nothing. So they throw a bit of money, time, or “program” at the problem and then walk away. In mission circles globally this happens constantly. Money is wasted “dabbling” at problems, rather than working smart.

Leaders need to take time to understand the nature of a problem. THEN, build a response that matches the size of the problem (including the time and endurance needed). This cannot be done without community. It cannot be done without reaching out beyond our private borders and being knit together in purpose with others in the Kingdom.

The Systemic Sustainability Reason

Change is hard! Maintaining a state of change is even HARDER! As I said above, big problems involve many people working together to solve them. They often involve entire paradigm shifts or new ways of thinking. This new way of thinking needs to encompass all aspects or stakeholders in the problem. Now, if we simply change one piece of a problem and then try to maintain that change, it will be virtually impossible. This is why we see in Scripture often families, tribes, and clans following Jesus together. For it to survive, it has to be social. Change needs a support system around it to survive. 

You see how community is needed at every level. Quick fixes, short-term solutions, shallow views of a problem, lone-ranger type responses, for the most part, are a waste of time. Let’s determine to employ the gift of community to strengthen our capacity to solve big problems – together!

Picture of Mark Orr

Mark Orr

Mark was raised as a missionary kid in Brazil. He has committed his life to helping emerging leaders be more effective, and ultimately the Church more able to carry out her Mission in the world. He has previously served in global refugee mission work. Mark and his family are Canadians, but have lived in the UK, Greece, and Uganda over the last 10 years.

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