As human beings, we have fundamental need for connection to each other. All thriving organizations that I have cared about seemed to have a strong sense of community. Great communities are life giving, authentic, and naturally generate an impact. You can try to lead by fear, intimation, or force people to follow you because of your ‘title.’ I’m starting to realize that one of the most powerful ways to promote positive change is community building.
Some events from this past week have “hit me on the head” and forced me to pay attention to this fundamental idea we call community. In my church, I have had the opportunity to lead a wonderful music ministry serving our high schoolers. (Check out their website at http://sacredheartlifeteen.org/ ) When I think about some of my favorite moments of living in Middle Georgia, I think of this tribe of passionate and talented young teens. Even though our group plays once a month for church, it was so meaningful to hear stories of how they inspired our church members young and old. I’m proud that they set an example of service and prayer by sharing their time and talents. By learning how to make music together and prayerfully making something beautiful, they lead people to a more profound place in their faith walk. Through our relationships, I’ve been inspired to be more prayerful and be a better musician. I’m truly humbled that the Lord gave me this opportunity to serve with them. They really rock!
As we finished off this year and played our last songs, I honestly started getting “choked up.” The sound of the teens singing a beautiful “Ave Maria” just really moved me emotionally. It was like “someone” was hitting me on the head saying …. “Michael… You really need to pay attention to this moment.”
As I started doing some self reflection on some of my favorite experiences in life (in business, in family, in church), all of these experiences were connected to great cultures of community. You can see the power of community in our best innovations and our most meaningful experiences.
- Church impact: I have been blessed to be a part of many church families where I can really see lives changed for the better. The Lord’s hands is community.
- Technology impact: In a technology circle, I really love my Android phone. This technology, however, would not be possible if a community developers had not decided to work together to share their talent and create a potent free operating system called “Linux.” Linux and other free UNIX operating systems are the fundamental building blocks making our IPhones, IPads, and Android devices possible. These pieces of software were created out of a love of the craft of software. (not profit motive.)
- Business impact: In a business context, I have had the pleasure of fostering a learning community we call the “EntreLeader book club.” ( click the link for more details) It’s a weekly event that I cherish. It’s fun getting to explore meaningful business leadership books and support each other in growing. So far, we’ve covered the following books: “EntreLeadership” by Dave Ramsey, “Beyond the Obvious” by Phil McKinney, and “Good To Great” by Jim Collins. It’s been fun to see the innovations big and small from our team of EntreLeaders. (Big high five to Dave Ramsey and Chris LoCurto)
- Education impact: I am very inspired by my personal learning network of educators. I aspire to have the “heart of a teacher” in all that I do. So.. I love learning from the educators who are passionate about serving their students and making a difference. Thank you teachers for all that you do to change the world!
I’m still growing in the art of community building. I still have a lot to learn. I wanted to close this reflection by sharing a free book that I’m reviewing. Check out the “Art of community” by Jono Bacon. While the book focuses on growing “technical” communities, it’s still offers great practical coaching that applies to every organization. (nonprofit, club, nonprofit) Jono Bacon is a really fun writter too.
What are some of your favorite blogs, ideas, or tools for building community? We would love to hear from you!