Your members are seeking an experience of community!


Something that is becoming abundantly clear to me is that we as humans have been designed to operate in community. Whether it be at work, home, or play, deep within, we’re all seeking a sense of belonging to a community. Yet, in today’s world, a world where we’re connected via an abundance of technology, our experience of community seems to be getting worse than better.

This recently has come to light as I spend the majority of my time facilitating advisory boards, life groups, and work extensively with leadership teams. An observation I’ve been discussing with some of the folks is “Why do our members come?” Is it me as a coach/facilitator (or other leader) or is it the experience of the group that they’re primarily showing up? It doesn’t take long to figure out that, while the group loves me (and maybe you), it’s really the experience of community in the group that keeps them coming back.

I was reflecting on this yesterday while driving to church. We have a very gifted pastor leading our congregation which has drawn many folks to our church. What I was specifically reflecting on was the fact that our family generally on Sunday mornings arrives right at the start of service and exits promptly after service. Thus, there really is a minimal experience of community when doing so. For us, we’re involved in life groups and ministries within the church, which is more so where we experience community. However, what if we weren’t? The majority of the people attending are doing exactly what we do, just showing up for the service which means they are not experiencing community among the body of our local church. This lack of community will eventually result in discontentment and their likely moving on to another church or, worse yet, leaving the church all together.

Are you running a corporate team and think this doesn’t apply to you? Don’t be so quick to judge. Employee surveys clearly relate that the number one thing employees want is to “feel that they’re apart of something bigger and their contributions matters.” Yes, the leader is important; however, only in the context of building the team which creates the experience.

Much of what I’ve related likely isn’t surprising. That being said, what I’d like to do is encourage you to discuss this in your groups. What I am finding often is the leaders appreciate the need for community; however, the member don’t recognize their part in creating the experience.

One of the things we talk about in our High Performance Teams curriculum is responsibility. In teams that excel, each member of the team takes responsibility for the team. So, for example, if one person isn’t showing up, it’s no longer just the leader responsibility to address. On High Performance Teams, its the entire team responsibly to address. It generally looks like multiple members, if not all of the team, reaching about and saying, “Hey, Susan, we noticed you haven’t been making it to our meetings. Is everything ‘OK’? How can I help you?”

Seriously, stop and think of what this would look like. Most people expect the leader to reach out; however, what if multiple people on the team reach out? Clearly, this raises a sense of belonging and shows that others care. Vice versa, look at it through the lens of no one except the leader reaches out. Whether true or not, it sends the message that “we don’t care.” Make sense?

Again, I hope todays message has brought to mind the importance of community and prompts you to bring it to the table for discussion. I’d love to hear your experience and comments below.

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