a guest post by kerrie
Transitioning from one community to another is an odd kind of thing.
I’ve been hearing it over it and over again on twitter recently – it’s important to find community.
Yes, I just returned from the Influence Conference, which might be why it’s been so prevalent in my little online group – the face-to-face -- the one-on-one – it really harbors a sense of community.
I’m currently in the real-life transition period. I think that’s why this online community has been so important to me lately. They are helping provide me a smooth transition.
You see, in just 8 short months, my real-life community is going to change. The faces will be different. The language will not be the same.
In just 8 months, I’m moving to Mexico.
Currently, I reside in Alabama – a state with an incredible sense of community. In fact, driving down the road, I’d be surprised if I didn’t pass 3 or 4 strangers who smile and wave at me as though they’ve known me for years. And they haven’t. I just moved here five years ago. One thing I love about the great state of Alabama is how kind everyone is. It made community easy. Deep conversations, especially ones on faith, flow freely in an open and friendly community.
With our upcoming move, I wonder what our sense of community will feel like compared to this.
So, in light of our move, I want to give myself – and you all of course – some pointers for building community. These can be used in your church, your town, or heck, even online!
1. [Be Kind] Take the time to get to know the people around you. Some will become your community, and some won’t. That’s ok. Say you are visiting a new church or moving to a new town or reading a new blog: don’t wait for others to reach out to you. Be bold and initiate! And when others DO reach out, reach back.
This is going to be a struggle for me when we move to Mexico. It will be so easy for me to use the language barrier as an excuse! But one thing I’ve learned is that a smile is the same in every language. A smile says, “hey! I welcome you! I think you’re important!” A smile can certainly go a long way. I plan on smiling… a lot! It’s actually already something I do in Mexico… It works great when I have no idea what someone is saying! Haha just smile and nod. Works every time.
2. [Get outside of your comfort zone] It can be so easy to stick with the people you know and with whom you’re the most comfortable. But when doing that, you might be missing someone else who is equally amazing!
Example: At Influence Conference, it took me until the last day to say hello to many of the women who’s blogs I love. I was nervous! I was shy! I was uncomfortable! But mostly, I was worried about rejection. What I learned as I slowly forced myself to say hello, is that they wanted to say hello back! I seriously think we were all walking around sharing the same fears, which is just crazy!
3. [Be a Joiner and Be Committed] If you’re anything like me, I avoid social interactions if at all possible. It’s awful! I will sign up for a retreat, conference, or even just rsvp to a dinner with great intention, only to scramble at the last minute to come up with some kind of excuse NOT to go! Why? Because Satan starts whispering words of insecurity to me like, “it will be easier if you just stay home…” “no one will miss you anyways”
Lucky for me, I have a husband who won’t allow it. He
encourages me to just go. And I never
ever ever regret it.
4. [Create Community with Intention] This is something I’m currently working on. I can be a bit of a loner. But God has created us to be relational beings. We need community. In fact, the Bible says in ____ “Do not give up meeting together, as many are prone to do…
Not sure where to start? Well, since you’re here right now, I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re a blogger. Email the bloggers you feel closest to (even if they have no idea you feel that way) and tell them your intention to build community. Ask for a mentor, and start mentoring someone else. Check in regularly. I’ll never forget at the beginning of this year when I got an email from a fellow blogger asking me to mentor her. We would email, check in, and are even Facebook friends now (I know, so legit!)
So basically, what I’m trying to say is that community is important. Wherever you’re at, wherever you’re going, be intentional in surrounding yourself with brothers and sisters in Christ to share life with. We need people. Put yourself out there and don’t miss out on this awesome gift from God!
I’m so glad I did!
Want to know more about our move and my heart for all Christians to see the Missionary in themselves? Check out The Williams’ Post for updates and more about our heart for missions.
This is space to maintain the proper alignment: Kerrie married a serious hottie, Wade, in 2009, which just so happens to be when she started her blog. Over there you'll find bits and pieces of their journey, focusing on God, married life, and missions with a few hobbies mixed in for good measure. She runs a missions-oriented shop selling clutches and jewelry, and you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.