Making Community Succeed
How to Make Community Succeed
Community is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. In my time with YWAM, community dynamics and health have made a lasting impact on my life. Based on my experience, these are the ways I see Christian communities succeed.
I enjoy cooking.
The opportunity to experiment and create, followed then by the privilege to appreciate a creation by consuming it. Sharing a meal, giving friends the space to appreciate your creation is all the more rewarding.
I find it both relaxes and energizes me. Preparing a meal (a good meal) requires effort. Michelin Star chefs do not earn their title by simply arranging a few edible items on a plate.
Cooking demands patience and perseverance to get the taste, texture, and appearance ‘just right’.
It offers great satisfaction and by nature is messy.
As a Missions Organization, YWAM values living in community.
Our belief is that discipleship and growth happen best when we invite others to journey with us.
God created Man with the intent to walk alongside His creation.
Yet, He knew that Man would desire someone else to share both Creation and God’s Presence with.
So He created Community.
Community offers a place to belong. But, much like cooking, community is both fulfilling and messy.
Belonging is not simply adopting group values and characteristics.
It’s not simply swapping your old self for a new one, but it is allowing yourself, your true self, to be known mess and all.
Being known requires both vulnerability and a commitment to growth.
In community, others welcome you as you are, but if you give them permission, they will encourage you to become a better version of you.
The version of you God intended for you to be all along!
As you allow yourself to be known, your character will be both discovered and developed.
Character is who you are when no one else is looking. It’s what naturally comes out when pressed. Like the juice of a fruit or oil of a seed. You will discover both good and bad elements of your character.
Don’t be afraid to have the bad confronted.
In a loving community, this will give you the privilege to refine your character.
Ultimately, Christ calls us to submit ourselves to Him.
Submission to God allows Him the opportunity to renew our mind and transform our character.
This transformation is like the process of refining a precious metal. Through immense heat impurities rise to the surface to be burnt off, leaving behind a more strong and pure substance.
Let others be a voice of encouragement for you in this process. Learn from what they would share with you about their own transformation. A loving community won’t just focus on your character flaws, but will acknowledge your unique skills, giftings, and ways in which you encourage them!
YWAM Asheville is that place for me.
That is not to say that I have it all figured out. This is a continual, ongoing journey.
Not only must I be vulnerable and present, I must be available for when someone else needs a shoulder to lean on. Communities that succeed are built up by those who humbly embrace journeying together, and committing to be there for each other.
Along with vulnerability, the other ingredient in the formula of community is forgiveness.
We all have flaws and weaknesses.
Each of us say hurtful things in the heat of the moment, at times put ourselves before others, and will step on each others’ toes now and again.
A successful community doesn’t allow shame to follow mistakes…but it also doesn’t allow them to be the default.
We will have moments where we slip and so will others.
This is why we must be quick to forgive.
To borrow Biblical language and to stay true to the cooking analogy, un-forgiveness is like yeast.
Yeast is seemingly small and insignificant. However, a little yeast is capable of effecting the entire dough.
Likewise, un-forgiveness is what causes relationships and ultimately community (as community is built on relationships) to deteriorate.
Forgiveness requires vulnerability.
As the offender, we must be vulnerable in exercising humility, admitting when we were in the wrong and seeking forgiveness.
Pride will not thrive in a healthy community and will only serve to trip you up.
As the recipient of offense, we must not allow this offense to distance ourselves from another.
In fact, we shouldn’t wait for others to apologize to us. I must show vulnerability in approaching others when they hurt me.
Often, others are unaware that they have hurt us.
Be bold enough to have a conversation when you feel hurt.
Sooner or later, I know that I will make a mistake and need to ask for forgiveness.
So…forgive others the way in which you would want to be forgiven.
Good things are often messy.
But everyone would agree, having to clean a few bowls and baking sheets is so worth the reward of freshly baked cookies!
Yes, community is messy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
These are all incredibly important lessons that you will be taught and trained in during a DTS, Discipleship Training School.
At YWAM Asheville, community and discipleship are simultaneous. Interwoven. As we do mission outreach programs and DTS together, we choose to let each other sharpen us.
A YWAM DTS is a foundational place to begin the process of being accepted, belonging, and being led as you chase after Jesus.
One of our sayings is “Welcome to family.”
We say that because we mean it.
When you come to YWAM Asheville, you are joining a family of believers.
Come to a DTS, set aside 5 months to radically pursue Jesus, impact the world, and be a part of a vibrant, loving community.