What is a community

   When I looked up the definition of community, I got not one but three definitions for it. Then I found a whole slew of ideas people had on what a community is and how it works. I didn’t really agree with them on most parts. I won’t even write what some of them gave as definitions of community. So, I'll tell you what Websters said about a community and then tell you about mine.

1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common:

    I guess this might or at least could be what I think of as a community. To be honest it sounds more like a neighborhood. I didn’t grow up in a neighborhood where everybody was considered part of the community though. I was one of the people most would have said didn’t quite belong there. Most of those people didn’t actually know me though. They were part of something I wasn’t. So, to me that is not exactly a community as just people who live close to each other. It could become a community but it’s not inherently a community.

2. a group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat:

     To me the only thing that came to mind was a coral reef. Lots of different types of sea creatures living together in a specific habitat. The reef itself is a living organism. They were all drawn to it for benefits they wouldn’t find in a big empty ocean. Protection, food, safety, socializing.

   This just doesn’t to be something most people can go out and join. It works great for sea creatures, not so much for people. But I would like to visit their little community, it looks beautiful. 

3. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals:

      This is the one I think of as a community. Words like sharing, fellowship, common interests are all words I would use to describe a community. I would also add that a community is a group where everyone benefits from being part of it, not just a few people. There is also trust in a community. 

    In a real community people are supportive. They care about other people in the community. They look out for each other. They are stronger together and want everyone to succeed, live a good life, and feel like they belong. They want to build you up, not break you down.

Just sub parts

   People in general are complex creatures. Hardly any two of us are exactly the same. We might have some things in common but not others. This is where the community breaks down into smaller groups.

   I am a writer by vocation, does that make me part of the writers' community? The answer is NO. There are a lot of people out there who write about a lot of things I disagree with. I don’t support what they do and for the most part I think what they do is harmful and misleading to a lot of people. So, I am by no means part of that community even though I am a writer.

   I grew up outdoors. I love camping, fishing, hiking etc. So, am I part of that community? Once again, NO. I have things in common with some of those people. I am part of a community "with" some of them, just not all of them. 

 I am a musician so am I part of the musician community. NOPE! 

    There’s a whole lot of musicians out there who live lifestyles I don’t agree with. They believe things I don’t. They influence others to believe like they do, and I disagree with them. I think they mislead people too. Things about them go against my core beliefs and what I think the world needs more of.

     There are musicians in my community. I’m one of them. I collaborate with other musicians in my community. Sometimes we play together. But we are all part of another community. This is just one of the many groups in that community I am part of.

   Using broad terms is too general to form a community. A community is a group of people who share common interests, goals, and attitudes. So, you have to think more narrowly in terms of community. I think it looks more like an umbrella.  One main focus on top with a lot of smaller groups underneath it. You probably won't belong to more than one community; you will be in different groups in that community.

   The one community I am part of is the Christian community. That would be the umbrella that all my other little groups fall under.

 I am Christian (First), then an outdoors man, then I am a writer, then a musician. Christ will always come first. Yes, I know there are a ton of different denominations out there in the world, but at the heart of it we all believe the basic things are true.

  •  The scripture is the word of God and is all true.
  • Jesus is our savior
  • God is in charge
  • He has a plan
  • It’s our place to spread his word
  • We want others to be saved

 

 So, what is a community? Well, for the most part it’s the people you feel safe with. It’s the people who want you to succeed. It’s the people you share with. It’s the people you trust and trust you.   Communities are people.

     Jesus called this the church, our church family. So, my community is the Christian church. I just happen to be part of some smaller groups in that community. But I can share all of the other parts I am, with anyone in my community that wants to know about them, and we are all still part of the same community.

    I would love to teach writing. I would love to teach fishing. I would love to take people camping. Those are some of the things I bring to my community. It's a diverse group of people. We grow together.

    I also use some of these blessings God has given me to reach people who are not part of the Christian community. I go fishing with people who are not Christian. I go hiking with some, I write some things to other groups. But that’s how God uses me to reach others who have not heard the word yet. It’s how I reach the ones who are still lost. Hopefully I am a good enough example of my community that they will be curious and ask questions about it. I am always more than happy to answer what I can or be honest if I don’t and we’ll go to the people who do have those answers together. My community grows together.

  I’m lucky that I am part of such a great community of diverse individuals who all share a common belief and work to build each other up. We support each other. We trust each other. We are a family. A better version of family than some people had.

    God’s family.

   We always have room for more members. Ask any of us about joining. We are always glad to help.

    When I researched what a community is for this article, I found that there are a lot of different ideas on what community means. There were a lot of papers by people with more degrees than I had honestly ever heard of. I had to research what some of their vocations really are. Sounded like they all over-thought it. They all seem to think it’s complicated. 

It’s not. 

   So instead of using their ideas on it, I went with what I think a community is. I thought you might have a better idea of a good community by telling you about mine and how it works. The Christian community is the only real community I am part of, I just have different roles in that community. 

    That's how I see it. Simple. Good. Like a better family.

   Is it perfect? No, but we work together to make it better. We all have our part in it. God has a plan for all of us. Ask any of us about joining. We always have room for more.



written by Benjamin Evans