If you sense that you are called to this way of being with others, please know this: you are not alone. And the way is not without complication. Seeking to build a Christ centered group, with diversity, reconciliation and justice at its core, is one of the most difficult and counter-cultural things any of us will ever do. Knowing this from the start can free us to take it seriously and hold it lightly. Here are some pointers that might be of help:
- Don’t go it alone. Begin with two or three others who are internalizing the principles and practices described here and are ready to commit for the long haul. Support and encourage each other; listen for God’s guidance; take risks. This is high adventure.
- Claim your own inner authority as a servant leader called by God. While all members will share group facilitation, you and others who are called will provide ongoing foundational guidance.
- Keep returning to the central vision. Are you honestly facing your cultural addictions and sharing yourselves vulnerably with each other? Are you seeking radical diversity? Are you moving toward greater depths of reconciliation? Are you pursuing justice for the oppressed and excluded?
- Focus again and again on the call to justice. Resistance to this call often is deeply ingrained. We wonder, who are we to think we can reform the systems of the world? But of course, the true question is, with God’s call to do so, who are we not to?
- Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t be afraid of success. Only be aware of the common tendency to think too much about either one. Stay quietly faithful to the process, whatever comes. And if you sense that you either are sabotaging or relishing the possibility of success, confess and seek guidance.
- These processes are both simple and complex To manage this reality, keep everything as concreie as possible. Hold to the disciplines of the beginning commitment; follow a consistent meeting format; provide everyone with a membership roll and encourage people to stay in touch and be intentional about their choice to belong; find meaningful ways to celebrate this choice. (In other words, have fun!)
- If you think you’re beginning to “get it,” go deeper. The most common failure is the failure to internalize the basics and to stop going deeper. Pray, read, listen, learn, reach out. Prepare to lose your life for the sake of finding Life.
- Remember that no one knows ALL that it means to follow Jesus in community. Live to the limit of your understanding. Let’s learn from each other.