In the 12 months that I have served as your pastor, you’ve probably heard me talk at nauseum about community. But have you ever stopped and wondered why?
Well for me, authentic community is the very fabric of the local church. We see this in the Book of Acts as the first church gathered for meals, exchanged business, took care of each other’s needs, and interwove their lives together.
As a people who crave numbers-based results, we often look to big events, such as our church-wide gatherings or worship, to the fruition of our work to development. However, authentic community is cultivated in the small and seemingly insignificant moments of interaction.
In his must-read work, “Community: The Structure of Belonging,” Peter Block writes: What makes community building so complex is that it occurs in an infinite number of small steps, sometimes in the quiet moments that we notice out of the corner of our eyes. It calls for us to treat as important many things that we thought were incidental.
Last September, we started Connect Groups to create opportunities for incidental and intentional small steps in creating authentic community. The groups are intended to gather people around common interests, such as book reading, golfing, running, cycling, and so on. These groups are experiencing new friendships and celebrating common interest.
Many of our groups have taken off, including the Ladies Book Club, Book Club, Running group, Guys Gatherings, Midday Theology Conversations, and Off-Limits Conversations. We have new groups forming, including a Play-Date group and free guitar lessons.
We are inviting you to participate in the beautiful and ongoing work of developing authentic community within and through UBC. We want to invite you to participate in one of the existing connect groups, share an idea for a new group, or lead a group. We have rebooted the Connect Group site to make all these things easier. Visit www.ubc-br.org/cg for more information.
As Peter Block goes on to write, “An invitation is more than just a request to attend; it is a call to create an alternative future, to join in the possibility we have declared…Invitation manifests the willingness to live in collaborative way.”