1. Value it? Check!
    Pursue it? Check!
    Put it into practice and make it work? Kinda check?

    Here are a few things I've done to be more intentional about building community:
    – I invite women I meet over for coffee. As soon as I think, "I should have her over," I immediately call or email. As soon as we're talking, I try to schedule a date within the next 1-2 weeks.
    – I try not to turn down any invitaiton our family (or I) receives.
    – I remind myself that my plans and schedule are almost never as important as devleoping relationships.
    – I choose times in my week that are "sacred" (read: cannot reschedule; writing times) and "sacrificible" (read: can be rescheduled/ put off/ dropped altogether; housework). How do you like my reinvention of the English language?!
    – We try to schedule one Fri or Sat evening per month to have a family over for dinner and a good dose of visiting.
    – We are patiently (not) waiting to be connected with a home group from our church that meets weekly.

    It doesn't always work, but I sure do try! Especially since we moved. Almost a year here and it's starting to get a bit lonely…

  2. You know the part about church that I like the least? The few minutes delegated to "meet and greet." In fact we have 2 "sessions" each Sunday morning for the "meet and greet."
    It's not that I don't like people, it's just that the delegated part in which you try to "get out of your comfort zone" and shake hands, hug necks and ask "how are you?" "I'm fine. I miss my son in Heaven but you know…I'm okay…"
    I never did like that part and now it's even harder.
    I said that to say I like it when it's genuine.
    I make time to get together one on one with a friend. We walk and talk or run and try to talk!
    It's worked out best for me at this time in my life. We also get together with one other couple for a "double date night." We do this 1 – 2 times a month.

  3. "We can’t really accomplish community-life while sitting in a Sunday morning church service"

    I enjoy community much more than I enjoy church. After experiencing real community in a ministry group (by real I mean actually living and working together, learning to REALLY love one another and not just smile in passing or spend a few minutes "catching up") I have found the "community" offered in church to be fake, forced, contrived and empty. Plastic. Sorry if that sounds cynical, but it's true. "Church life" has always been difficult for me for that very reason. I need real community, real relationships…I feel like I have never found that in church, but in other places…college dorm rooms, Bible studies in homes or small groups on the mission field with the people I worked with, over coffee, on the phone, through friendships established long ago where we have grown through many stages, and even online. Community is built for me in the places where I share my heart…and that has never happened in church, and honestly I don't think it will. It happens around dinner tables, on playgrounds, in livingrooms, in "life". It is relationship. Church is not really "life" or relationship, it is a meeting.

  4. Hey Kimberly,

    I get what you're saying. Community happens while we do life together.

    That said, I'm not sure "church" (as in the hour of worship and teaching that happens one day per week) was ever intended to provide that community. That part of church is for learning and worshipping as a corporate group. The "meet and greet" moments are simply a way to say "Hi! Welcome!" but are not (at least I don't think so) intended to create community.

    "The church," though – that is, the people that make up the church – are where the real community happens.

    I think that we sometimes go into church on Sunday mornings expecting more, and that leaves us disappointed. Imagine how the church (both the institution and the people) would flourish if everyone understood, as you do, that real community happnes in real life!

  5. miss you. miss you. miss you. miss you. miss you!

    Let's talk soon. Call me when it's a good time, please. =)

    I couldn't even comment here yesterday because I'm struggling with the exact same issues. Of course.

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