A few days ago Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement concerning Facebook. He said that Facebook is going to return back to its roots and it’s going to be more social now. It’s interesting because Facebook will be more involved in community. As marketing director of Global Leadership Summit, I’m excited with the fact that Facebook is interested in community. Like IGSL, we are very much involved in community because of our desire to develop leaders in community not just in one aspect but through their heads, hearts, and hands. We’re interested in creating an environment where there’s real community going on.
There’s one thing I’ve realized about community. It doesn’t happen by accident. Through the years of many mistakes and experiences, both good and bad, we now understand that creating community should not be taken for granted. There’s a lot of intentional work needed. There are challenges involved.
Second Corinthians 6:11-13 reveals to us the challenges that Paul faced as far as creating community is concerned.
The first challenge is the challenge of HONESTY. Paul says, “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you.” Basically honesty is not something we can expect to happen naturally just because we are together in a room. It requires trust and by default we’re not trusting nor trustworthy. I discovered that we couldn’t grow and become the person that God wants us to be if we cannot live in a community with other people in honesty. Honesty is hard work.
The second challenge is the challenge of RESPONSIBILITY. Paul said, “We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us”. As leaders, we can either encourage or discourage openness through our behavior. Sometimes our behavior restrains others to open up. It is our responsibility to encourage others to open up.
Last is the challenge of ACCOUNTABILITY. “As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.” Accountability is knowing what’s really going on. The quality of a small group depends on the accountability of each and every person on the group. Everything that happens in a group is the result of what the members are doing. We should have the courage to call out issues in our group. That’s what accountability means.
All I’m saying is that community is great but it depends on each person in the group making a decision to be honest, to take responsibility on how they are affecting the group, and to be accountable to one another.
I do believe that true community is not about proximity but intentionality. Let’s ask one another, “What are we trying to do? Is this just a requirement or is this really essential to your spiritual formation?” Because if it is, let’s stop playing games and let’s start being serious about creating community.