Experiencing genuine community with others is a process that involves several steps along with increasing levels of personal commitment. Relationships with our family, friends, and co-workers are determined by the level of community we experience with them during interaction. The Institute For Community offers the following steps as a pathway to adding more community to your life…
CONTACT– Having contact with other people is essential if you want to add community to your life. Think of all your current and past friendships. Before you had your first with them, they were strangers!
CONNECT– Building quality relationships that lead to genuine community happens through the experiences of belonging and influence. Both these experiences require a connection with others; a shared interest, goal, or challenge. Teammates tend to be a close-knit group. Best friends usually do everything together. Business partners share a common goal. Connecting with another person via a shared interest, goal, or challenge is an important step in the pursuit to add genuine community to your life.
CONTRIBUTE– At some point in relationships, we are all called upon to contribute. This is many times the hurdle that most people just can’t get over. Busy schedules, other commitments, and a general selfishness fueled by the world we live in make it difficult to find the time and energy to do things for others. One example comes when it is time to move from your home. If you were to move today, how many people could you get to show up to pack or unpack the truck? Contributing doesn’t have to be painful. A simple phone call to check on another’s day or encouragement when a friend is down can be a great way to contribute to others during the relationship building process.
COMMUNITY– The fourth step is the reward of achieving the previous three. Contact with a lot of different people, connection that leads to opportunities to contribute to others’ lives, and the feeling that comes from being in community with others makes a person feel useful, wanted, and adds meaning to their life.
Notice that the level of commitment is raised at each step. It takes little commitment on ones behalf to have contact with others, a bit more to form a connection, still more to contribute to others, and continuous commitment to live in genuine community with others.