the weblog of Alan Knox

Community Checklist

Posted by on Mar 24, 2011 in blog links, community | 5 comments

My friend Eric at “A Pilgrim’s Progress” wrote a good article this week called “A Good Test of Community.”

In the post, Eric says that we cannot be living in community with people if we do not know their names. In other words, sitting in the same room weekly (or even more often) with strangers does not a community make.

So, a better title for Eric’s post might have been “A Good Test for Not Having Community.” Why do I say that? Well, because if you do not know each other’s name, then you are certainly not living in community with one another. But, knowing everyone’s name is not an indication of community either.

But, this got me thinking… again, I like posts that make me think. What else would we say should be present if we are living in community with one another? We can start with knowing one another’s names. But what else?


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  1. 3-24-2011

    Not sure what is meant by “living” in community; to me that would mean actually living with each other – sharing living space, or at least sharing everyday life on a regular basis. And if you’re doing that you’ll definitely know names! My observation has been that this sharing of everyday life is the part of “community” that most popular attempts (such as “small groups”) often miss. Even if you’re meeting frequently for things like Bible study, worship, pizza, bowling, etc., those are still all just special events where it’s easy to be on our best behavior; they are breaks from everyday life that make it hard to really get to know people and build deep relationships.

  2. 3-25-2011


    Very good thoughts here. Yes, by “living in community” I meant “sharing everyday life on a regular basis,” among other things. I think I’m going to write a series about this.


  3. 3-26-2011


    Great observation on the “safety zone” we typically maintain by connecting around activities.


    A surprisingly rich source of stories, descriptions, and encouragement in this topic is Community and Growth by Jean Vanier (a European Roman Catholic, founder of l’Arche community for the mentally handicapped and their helpers).

  4. 3-26-2011

    This past Sunday I was in Albuquerque, NM, and had a day off. In the morning, I visited a KJV only, independent, fundamental church. I like these people; they are a part of my background. Between SS and Preaching, lots of people went outside for a smoke. Several commented to me how they wanted to quit as we talked. (It isn’t common to see folks in these sort of groups smoking.) Everyone was friendly, and there were people of all ages. The preaching was a strong message (intense and loud) but honestly I don’t recall what it was.

    In the afternoon, I met with a simple church group. They were composed of many who had been through drug and alcohol addictions, and most had now been clean for months and years. But, the consequent damages to marriages and lives was still facing them. One woman in particular was struggling with these sort of issues, and pretty much the whole time together (several hours) was coming alongside her in sharing her sorrow, encouraging her in the progress she was making, and in assuring her, confirming her.

    I’ll be back a few times this year. And I’ll meet with both groups. Both were warm and welcoming. One appears at first glance to be having a greater transformative influence. It will be interesting to learn more about the levels of community they both have.

  5. 3-26-2011


    I can’t wait to hear more about these two groups and about the level of community in each.



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