Our family has recently been doing research on an activity or sport that we would all enjoy to do together…
I did a search on the internet for some activities and sent an email inquiry and waited for a response. I received a phone call within 48 hrs from a person in that group and was able to ask questions. I asked if they had an open day so we could come and try out the activity…they gave me information, dates, times, cost. We went along and learnt more about the activity, had a try and talked to some people there.
The way people engaged with us on the day – as newcomers really told a story of the culture of that group. It makes it easier or not so easy to become part of a group if you ”feel” welcomed and included.
The result was this: We all enjoyed going to check it out. Besides the person we had made prior contact with, no one else in that group made an effort to interact or talk with us. We went up to some participants and asked questions of them, about the sport and although it seemed an intrusion into their world…they did answer our questions.
We didn’t feel welcomed or encouraged to come again by other participants. The leader of the group did tell me that they had lost a lot of members and were only a small group – so they were keen to grow. He also said that other clubs seemed to be quite snobby and elitist. Righto then…
So does that sound like any place you have been?
Today, could we be really honest about how well, we, as the church DO community and what type of culture we have been propagating? If we are willing to take a look and to learn from any mistakes or make some small adjustments – we would certainly be able to relate, perhaps to many more people.
Our communities – wherever we are connecting with others, is an organic group of people. We are in a place of constant adjustment and change, whether it be: home, work, social, sporting, educational or any other environment – which actually require all of us to learn, grow, adjust, change, develop and hone our skills and abilities to see growth. Is our church community (or group) as inclusive as we like to think? Even of our own kind? Are there clicks? Is there any exclusivity? How welcoming are we? Do we really want to see new people come and join us? How comfortable are we – just as we are?
A group may be small – but not intimate. A group may be large – but be supportive and connected. Hear my heart on this, numbers are not the ”all important” statistic for a successful group – however, growth is very important to the
existence of the group…unless you are happy for the group to die a natural death.
I confess, I have a fascination with group dynamics and the growth process. I have a kind of radar for picking up on clicks, cliches and closed doors to newcomers. This radar is also on the lookout for opportunities to make progress and improvements in the multitude of ways we humans make meaningful connections – ways to include, inspire and ignite others to jump on-board and enjoy!
The culture we are a part of is a better place for you being there and needs you…and others need to join you there…
We have what it takes to improve our connectivity with those outside this culture if we really want to…however it may require some adjustments. You willing? Ready?
BE, GO, DO because URLOVD!
~ Shelley Weeks