Top 10 Best Practices for Building Community

by Mark Votava


1. Practice Listening.  Listening is one of the most life-giving practices with so much potential, possibility and power.  When we take listening seriously this will put us into a whole new paradigm of seeing life differently.  We will be much more respectful and gentle toward others and ourselves.

2. Practice Humility.  Humility is what characterized the life of Jesus.  If we are to value Christ in our lives then humility needs to be a core aspect of our identity as we live out our lives.  Humility is truly beautiful and puts us into a posture where we can embody the teachings of Jesus.

3. Practice Forgiveness.  Community will be much harder to embody if we do not forgive others constantly.  Our forgiveness needs to be something we live out for community to thrive in a world of fragmentation, individualism and loneliness.  Forgiveness can heal the world like nothing else and is essential for us to follow along its path.

4. Practice Compassion.  Compassion is at the heart of Jesus.  Our compassion is intertwined with our listening, humility and forgiveness.  Compassion builds a bridge between others in our culture and allows collaboration to happen in everyday life.

5. Value the Ordinary.  In the ordinary is where God works and lives.  In the ordinary is where we live also.  We need a realization that in the ordinary, small things is where our spirituality is most authentic.

6. Value Proximity.  We need to live physically, geographically close to one another in everyday life.  This requires us to take the idea of place seriously.  What would happen if the body of Christ saw itself as a network of relationships in a particular place and not as a building or meeting?

7. Practice Contemplative Spirituality.  Contemplative spirituality could shape us in such practices as silence and solitude.  A deep reflective way of life could help us to better embody a way of listening, love and compassion.  Contemplative spirituality moves us into a communion with God that is beyond clichés, words and hype.

8. Practice Gratitude.  Gratitude connects us to others profoundly because we can always find something good, beautiful and true about our context when we live with this attitude.  This practice helps us to be balanced.  It helps us to appreciate the small things of life that a lot of people do not see or value.

9. Value Vulnerability.  Vulnerability is the heart of the gospel.  Without vulnerability we will not develop very healthy relationships with others.  Vulnerability requires us to live into the truth of our situation with love admitting when we have done something to hurt someone else.

10. Value Honesty.  Honesty is so crucial to live in the truth of life.  Honesty is truth.  It is so important to stop lying to ourselves, others and God.  This will create community like nothing else.

What is one practice you can start working on today to build community in the world?