We plan events, have coffee times before services, make people shake hands for 5 minutes...you know all of the tricks.
But can true community that people are looking for ever really be planned?
We have a small group that gets together once every-other-week. It's a great time. We talk, eat, study, discuss, and play Seinfeld TV games. I can assume that we genuinely enjoy all of our time together.
But is that community? or just an enjoyable evening together? Is there a difference?
For me, true community is when people begin to naturally interact and flow together in the midst of daily life - when you can go to someone's house without a reason, just because you feel like being with them, when you can spontaneously call and talk through an issue at the moment you are experiencing it -without waiting until your next get-together.
Don't get me wrong, small groups, coffee time, and even the 5 minute handshakes are great on-ramps to community, but let's not mistake them for the real thing.
Community means getting messy, vulnerable, and a little out of control at times. But that's the beauty!