Early this year, my wife and I got one of the most heartbreaking news, we were told that she had Thyroid cancer. Without getting into too much detail, we were crushed and the reality of that news set in and our minds began racing at 200km/h. In a split of a second, a great day turned into a horrible one and everything changed in just a moment.
Well, in that moment, the first thought that came to mind was, I need my people to lift me up in prayer, don’t get me wrong I am a man of faith and I have the faith to believe for miracles but in that moment, I knew that I needed to lean on the faith of my community because I was crushed.
Why do I tell you that story? Well, it’s because, over the years, I have come to understand that community is crucial in my life and crucial for my growth. It all changed when I read this quote by Paul McClure from Bethel Music
“Community is the intentional pursuit of being intertwined in each other’s stories. It’s being a part of the highs and the lows together, being hope for each other when needed, having fun together, working together, encouraging one another, helping each other grow and calling out the gold in one another”.
It’s been a crazy journey to believe for healing for my wife and a wild journey navigating everything that’s happening, but to be honest, we haven’t been alone in this journey, our community have carried us through this season. The reality of that quote “being a part of the highs and the lows together, being hope for each other when needed” has shown itself true in my and my wife’s life over the past few months.
You see, for community to be impactful, it needs to be intentional and it needs to be pursued. If we look at scriptures, we see these 2 verses that I love; Psalms 133 & Hebrews 10:24-25
Psalms 133 says “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (TPT) “Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. 25 This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning”.
These 2 verses show us God’s heart for us which is to remain in community and remain united. Unity does not always mean uniformity but it means that we are together united in a common cause bigger than ourselves.
As much as community can look different for everyone, the foundation is that we are in each other’s lives.
So how do we intentionally pursue community? Here are some things that have helped me over the years and I truly believe it will help you too.
- Make community a priority
The foundation of any community is for all of us to make the decision that I need to be intertwined in each other’s stories.
So if you feel far away and you feel like you haven’t found your people, why not reach out to us and let us begin the journey of getting you plugged in. It’s worth noting that, for this process to be successful, you will need to make the decision to be all in and let people in.
It does not have to be weird or forced, it just needs to be valuable. When you value community enough to make it a priority, you learn to see the benefit of being a community. Once you show yourself to be available, things will happen organically and beautifully.
2. Pursuit Openness and vulnerability
At that moment when the doctor gave us the news, I had few choices, one included keeping that sad news to myself and secondly sharing it with my people. So I decided to tell Greg and Cass, as I told them the news, their faith began to lift me up and in a second I found the courage to keep going. I felt like I was not alone.
It is said about Openness that, A person with a high level of openness to experience in a personality test enjoys trying new things. High openness means being creative and open to new ideas.
Vulnerability is the path to true human connection. Robert Glover said in No More Mr. Nice Guy, “Humans are attracted to each other’s rough edges”. So guess what, you don’t need to fake anything, you don’t need to look or act a certain way, you just need to be you.
Genuine and true vulnerability is not about what you do, it’s all about why you’re doing it. And in our community vulnerability is the ability to let people in to walk through the highs and the lows with you.
In our community of creatives, we are committed to advancing the gospel through our gift and talents. The reason we do what we do is for the sake of the gospel & others. But guess what, we can’t do it alone, we need you and we need your story and we need who you are not just your gift. So feel free to be open and vulnerable, we want to walk the journey with you.
B3. e an ambassador & a contributor
Because of the value of a good community, I have come to love community and all I want is for more people to be in community. But for community to be effective we need to invest in it not just take from it.
I work as a software engineer and we have 1 rule among many others, and the rule is called “the boy scout rule”, all it means is that I need to leave everything better than I found. And over the year, I have tried to apply it to any community I am involved in.
I pray that at the core of who you are, you will always have that rule in mind and all you will want is for your community to get better and better. Let’s all be committed to be ambassadors, seek and get everyone in communities while staying committed to being part of a community, and pouring into it, not just getting from it.
My wife and I are still walking this crazy journey of healing and believing for miracles, it’s not easy at all. But guess what, it becomes a little easier when we have an entire community of people who are walking the journey with us. Each day, it’s an opportunity for us to let people in and it’s our opportunity to let our community be part of our story. It’s a pursuit, and together we share moments that gives us perspective to believe that there is more for us.
In closing, my prayer is that you will be committed to being part of our community of creatives. Remember that we value you more than your gift, we are committed to being intertwined in your story, will commit to that too?
Joël Samuel Kapepula