I once had a friend lament that there wasn’t much community at his church: He said there weren’t many people that he connected with at his stage of life. I was listening empathetically, as I, like most of us, have been the “new kid in school” (or church or neighborhood or wherever) too. However, after we chatted, I wished I had gone beyond empathizing and challenged him with the following question: What are you doing to create community?
Whether it is a generational/millennial kind of thing or just our society in general, oftentimes we want to be invited into community but are not willing to do the hard work of actually creating community. There are so many unknowns in pursuing deep community that it is just easier to retreat into ourselves. We can think of a million reasons why we probably shouldn’t invite the Smiths over for dinner (i.e. we don’t know what they like to eat, we are so busy as it is, our kids are crazy, the house is a mess, they are probably busy, their kids are crazy too, it will probably make the house into more of a mess, etc.) It’s just simpler if we keep to ourselves and binge on some Netflix. (Full disclosure: The Hersheys subscribe to and use Netflix.)
This past week, I tried to cultivate some community in our cul-de-sac by doing an outdoor movie night for all the kids. I had many doubts about pulling it off, but I felt the benefits far outweighed the risks. And it ended up going fine… besides starting an hour too soon because of sunset, the computer crashing on us, all the kids abandoning the movie within 30 minutes, ordering ten times the amount of popcorn we actually ate, and my daughter jumping into my neighbor’s kiddie pool with her pajamas on and splashing around like a river otter as I tried to drag her writhing, slippery limbs out of the pool and back over to our house. But seriously, it was a success. During the evening, I learned a guy’s name who has lived by us for 2+ years… What was it again? I think it started with a B, maybe. I am joking! It was Brian… or Bill?
Anyway, what was I saying about community? It has a lot of variables! It is messy! You don’t know how it is going to turn out!
With all that said, I want to invite you into your community. This is your shot. This is the invitation that will help you cultivate a community of your very own. We are offering a three-week class called Hope Connection. It is one of the best and easiest starting lines for community at Hope. You will be introduced to small groups, serving opportunities, and fun ways to plug in and meet a lot of people at Hope who might be like– or unlike!– you. If you would like to help be a host with me for this three-week class, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you would like to find out more about the class and even sign-up, go to http://welcome2hope.org/connect/.
Community wouldn’t be the same without you at Hope Community Church.