In his book “The Art of Community, Charles Vogl whites the following:
"A group of individuals who share a mutual concern for one another’s welfare”. This is distinct from a group that may share interests or ideas, but possibly lack concern for one another is a deep way.
What strikes me particularly about this definition is how its rooted in mercy, compassion, and empathy .
The more we see others concerned about our welfare, the more we will invest in building community with them, and thus feel more connected. In the book, Vogl names two essential things to understand which can help us understand our relationship to community, and how healthy that relationship actually is:
Vogl goes on:
Shared Values: We want to believe that others value what we value, and disdain what we disdain. By understanding how a group develops and expresses values, members can more accurately help a community mature and grow.Values bind a community
We may seek out a community because of a shared activity or interest. Shared activity indicates sharing some value for the activity. But we’ll feel disconnected from such a community if we discover that there aren’t enough shared values. A good example of this could be a sports team, gym membership, book club, etc. So while these examples could serve as a “community” we may not always feel a sense of connectivity and “belonging”
Despite this, almost all communities express their values consciously and/or unconsciously. They do it with actions and words.
A community’s values can evolve as times and people change.
Who am I? How should I act? What do I believe?
This identity may not apply to all areas of a person’slife.
When a member is in the community, thecommunity’s values and identity feel comfortable andright. and aligned. When members are around othermembers, those values and their identity arereinforced.
To grow a tight community, it’s essential to articulatethe community’s core values clearly, at least foryourself.
The we can ask about all we do: “Will this decisionhelp me build on my core values?”
If you don’t know the values, you may not knowwho’s seeking you (or what you are seeking!). Youmay even end up seeking out people with the wrongvalues and beliefs.
You may expect and ask members to do things thatdisregard their values.
For a rapidly expanding community, it’s critical thatprospective members are welcome to participate incommunity behaviour before adopting commonvalues. Few want to join a community where theymust adopt an overwhelming number of life-changingvalues before they can participate at any level. (wecan often see this with the convert community, andeven find examples of this from the first communityof converts who were surrounded by the prophet.
Give new members time and flexibility to adopt newvalues.