When we think about cultivating community we often jump right to small groups. That’s the best way for people to grow in community and do life together, right? Unfortunately, if you’ve spent any time trying to organize small groups, you learn that friendships and community can’t be forced.So how can we help guide people into relationships with other believers without feeling like we’re forcing connections? While creating organic connections might seem impossible, it can be done.
Four Ways Church Leaders Can Structure Organic Community
A few months ago, Mark Waltz shared some incredible insights on how to create relationships that matter in your ministry. Here are four insights he shared when it comes specifically to creating a structure that leads to organic community in your ministry:
- Public Spaces. Maximize your connections space for people to experience community. Is your foyer designed in such a way that it encourages people to hang around? Do you have couches and seating areas?
- Social Spaces. Create opportunities for people to have shared experiences in your church. Consider a guys’ night or an outreach opportunity. People often just need an opportunity to hang out together.
- Personal Spaces. Allow church members to create personal experiences by helping them connect around personal passions or interests. This might look like financial workshops, specific volunteer opportunities, or a concert outing.
- Intimate Spaces. Communicate that small groups are the most valuable form of community in your church. This is where the day-in-day-out aspects of community are built.
I encourage you to create a natural way for people to move from each of these spaces to the next. On a guest’s first Sunday, they’re not ready to join a small group. But the process of starting with the public space and moving through the social and personal spaces readies their hearts for the intimate spaces.
Does your church have opportunities for people to connect in various spaces aside from corporate worship and small groups? What practical steps can you take today today to open up these opportunities?