what is community?

There now follows a slightly rambling post about the nature of community.

The word ‘community’ pops up a lot on this blog (as my wordle wordcloud shows), it is important to define what it means. Dave Male notes that the word is used in a number of different settings.

There is geographical community, to denote those who live in the same vicinity. They may or may not know each other but are defined to be in community by the proximity of their housing.

There are also communities based on a shared sense of identity. This could revolve around some external factor such as a common interest, a common cause, or a shared ethnicity. These are often not geographic but people seek them out ino order to belong to the community of ‘like-minded people’.

There are also community organisations, which includes churches, charities etc which usually aim to serve a geographic area or a subgroup of people.

Within a community organisation, however, there must also be a sense of shared identity for it to flourish. This is where people feel a part of the group, get mutual support from one another and are behind the common vision of the group. I would say this is what we see in Acts 2 with the early church.

With my work here, I am working with the geographical community within the community organisation of the residents association. One of my goals is to see a greater sense of community belonging as relationships and networks are formed. Using community networks that arise from natural shared identities deeper relationships can be formed and these communities can hopefully be guided into forming a church community from within them. A church community is simply a group of people who look up to God and out to others as well as in to themselves for shared company and support.

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