my next evolution suggestion to help you transform yourself into a better, more effective you in 2012 is this:


whether it is belonging to a local church or youth group or small group, or if it’s the people in your street or your apartment complex, to be an active part of an intentional community is a healthy and thrive-full way to live

the beautiful val and myself have been living and working with the simple way community in kensington, philadelphia for six months now and how we describe the local focus is simply ‘trying to be good neighbors’ and that’s really it – so whether it is the food distribution on a monday or the after school homework sessions with kids three afternoons a week, whether it is throwing a birthday party with the neighbors for our block captain or sharing a Christmas meal with a couple of neighbors, it really is all about being intentional and invested in the lives of those around you, and giving them space to invest in yours.

i think when it comes to the people who live next door it can seem quite a daunting thing, but my folks are brilliant at it – any time someone moves into their street they arrive with a plate of scones or muffins and a welcome and so they know everyone in their street – my dad has jumped over neighbors garden fences and mown their lawns [this was a muslim family that moved into the community and they later invited my dad to pray for one of their kids when he went into hospital] and so it really is pretty easy to do, but often just takes that initial decision and step.

we can be part of a group as an attender without really committing to the group or investing in it and so if that has been you, why not take the opportunity to step up in 2012 and really start building deeper relationships and investing in the lives of people [so move beyond a superficial ‘hey, how you doing?’ on a sunday at church or as you arrive home and walk into your house – invite someone round for a meal or out for a drink or get creative in a hundred other ways that can be effective.

and take it a step further to seek community based on what you can bring to it more than what it gives you – we are called to serve each other in love and so try and emulate the love demonstrated by the life of Jesus by doing what works for them more than it works for you – offer to babysit so your neighbors can have a date nite, gather a group of mates and paint their garden wall [maybe get permission for this one first], have a potluck [bring and share] meal and invite everyone in your street [if only two people come, start building relationship there] and start learning peoples names and getting to know them and being in their lives and watch as community happens.

no person should be an island, we were created for relationship. but especially if you call yourself a follower of Jesus, it is impossible to do that in isolation. God works with individuals within communities, where each person brings what they have to offer [time, energy, money] and offers it to serve and strengthen the group and those beyond it.

seek strong, intentional community in 2012.

to read the next one on laughter, go here…