The next stop on our journey to deep community is “pseudo community”. This is the honeymoon phase. The name of the game here is to keep the peace and save face. Where the team is getting tripped up right now is that they have mistaken everyone getting along as the deepest expression of community. I don’t think that’s either a true analysis or healthy gauge of deep community.
One of the teammates seemed rather deflated as we dialoged a bit about this. His personality type says “let’s stay together”… he FIGHTS for harmony in a group environment. So it was important to discuss the ultimate goal of deep community.
Deep community for the sake of having community is not our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is deep communion with God. The idea though, is that inside of deep community, a very God ordered tool, “one-anothering” will force us towards a deeper place of communion with God. This “iron sharpening iron” phenomenon happens at this place.
Pseudo community feels good, but it’s not where we want to stay in our community. I wonder if this kind of language helps you in your contexts as you are trying to navigate the journey towards connectivity you are striving for you in your setting? It’s important to note here though, I would suggest that pseudo community is exactly where some people need to stay within a group. Our goal is not to herd people to deep community, but to create environments where people are moving closer to God. Deep community is not your ultimate goal in the congregational life, communion with God for all people is. Community, again, is simply a tool.
Remember, this series of posts is just digging out learnings with a particular type of group and is not intended to be a recipe for your group. Take these learnings for what they’re worth and apply the principles if you see fit. My hope is two fold: to share with our readers about the work we are doing and to offer some thoughts about our process that may (or may not) be helpful to you in your given context.