Creating a Transformational Community


We had a really great time at the 34 Degrees conference at Bel Air Pres. I am always so encouraged to interact with our leaders from Mosaic. They are so committed to serving others and helping others become the people God has created them to be. Connecting our leaders with the leaders at Bel Air and the other 21 churches represented was a great blessing!

Here are some thoughts which encouraged or challenged me:

Dr. Henry Cloud:
“The most important thing you bring to your small group is who you are.”
“What are you building into your life to help you become a more spiritually, emotionally, and relationally intelligent person?”
“The ingredients for growth are grace and truth over time.”
“Too often we eat the prescription rather than the pill. We study the Bible, but we don’t obey it.”
“We need to make sure people understand that we understand.”
“We need to create an atmosphere of trust. People need to understand that we understand.”
“We need to have a humble attitude hungering towards truth knowing that reality is our friend (even past our assumptions).”

Bill Donahue from Willow Creek
“We don’t more content in our small groups. We need more action.”
“We need to create a safe place that is authentic, helpful, caring, and one in which others are encouraged to grow.”
“No one wants more meetings, but people are desperate for community.”

Mark Brewer from Bel Air:
“Community killers include the velocity, complexity, mobility, and technology of life.”
“Proof of growth includes growing in knowledge, accountable relationships, and spiritual gifts.”

Some ideas I shared:
“Healthy community is for outsiders. Our love for each other proves Jesus is God. (See John 17:20-23).”
“Healthy community includes outsiders (see the way Jesus interacted with his small group by sending them out and feeding the 5000 in Luke 9).”
“Jesus invites us to follow Him not for what we can get but for what we can give (see Matthew 4:19).”
“Acts 2:47 appears to be an oxymoron – two words or phrases that don’t seem to make sense together like jumbo shrimp, cafeteria food, Clippers basketball. How can people “praise God and enjoy the favor of all the people”? Because of their willingness to sell their own goods to meet the needs of others, people weren’t repelled by their beliefs as much as they were intrigued by their character.”

For some great resources on creating a transformational community check out Regroup for helping your small group, my book for reaching out to others, and A Walk into the City for a guide on interaction between the suburban and urban church. Also, more notes on the sessions at Matt Singley’s blog.

How are you creating transformational community in your context?

Showing 5 comments
  • Jane

    “Jesus invites us to follow Him not for what we can get but for what we can give (see Matthew 4:19).”

    Ouch. This stung, especially when read in the context of community and small groups. I left my small group at church because I wasn’t getting anything out of it. In the back of my mind, I had a nagging sense that it was a selfish thing to do. I guess this confirms it!

  • Matt Singley

    “People weren’t repelled by their beliefs as much as they were intrigued by their character.” Amen, brother! I think we (Christ followers) are a little too known for what we are against, and this pushes people away. Our character (that is, Christ inside of us) should be a magnet that draws people to us, to our character.

    You did a fabulous job, thanks for being a part of the conference!

  • deneen

    “…people are desperate for community” is so true. People come to churches and leave them because of that desperation. Fellowship, or community should not be our goal, but is a gift to the believer from God that occurs as we serve Christ and meet the needs of others. We must take our focus off of our own desire for community, and redirect it to serving in order to experience true community. You rock Eric! ~deneen

  • Mark

    I love Dr Cloud’s comment “The most important thing YOU BRING”, this really breaks the Christian consumerism mentality that is always thinking “My needs must be met or i’m leaving”. This goes not only for SG’s but for churches as a whole.

    If we can just break out of a mindset of continously receiving we might just begin to break into the world that God wants us to live while we a are down here on Earth. For me, moving on from a group where i left behind more than i took was the key to living a life fulfilled and filling up others. It empowered them to go on and fill others etc etc….so you end up with this culture of just everyone living in overflow by living for others….BUT it doesnt come free….it comes with a price tag……Time and Relationship!

  • Rindy

    Unfulfilled expectations are too often a source of anger or frustration. Instead of expecting so much from others, one thing I am trying to really do is to approach people with the attitude, “what can I do to serve them?”. It quickly changes perspective and takes the me out of it. It’s not easy, but the relationships grow tremendously!

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