You really cannot fulfill your vision, your personal growth will be severely stunted, and your life will be out of whack, unless you have and engage in a community. Relationships nurtured in a community are especially vital for spiritual leadership. How do I engage in community? Why is community important to my spirituality, growth, and fulfillment of the visions given me? The Calibrate Life Podcast explores these issues in this episode.

You really can get much of the content from the episode notes. Continue reading for time stamped notes with links mentioned in the podcast. 

Why Community is Essential for Life Calibration, Growth, and Vision Fulfillment

It was of great benefit to me, several years ago, when it began to dawn on me that ministry is always done in the context of a relationship. That one thought brought me more ministry clarity than any other practical thought I’d had to that point. As we’ve walked through life’s tough stuff, I’ve increasingly come to the conclusion that LIFE, itself is lived in the context of relationships. Our relationships define so much of what is meaningful in life. From our relationship with God, to our relationships with family and friends, to our relationships with neighbors and acquaintances, relationship, and the community that hopefully develops around those relationships provide a backdrop for deep joy.

Last week, in episode 013 of The Calibrate Life Podcast,  we discussed the necessity of community for our spiritual growth and development. Last week, much of our discussion referred to the “Church”. This week we broaden our discussion of community in considering its necessity to the fulfillment of the visions placed in our hearts and even our growth and development as a person.

We are passionate about this subject, and the podcast runs just a little longer this week than it normally does as we consider how community is essential to our living, leading, and loving. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to relationships and community and why they are important and how to engage. We will continue the conversation moving forward.

We have considered these aspects of community: [0:54]

  1. Our spirituality is intended to be lived in community (last week in 013)
  2. Our visions and dreams were intended to be fulfilled in community
  3. Our growth was intended to happen in community
  4. Our Lives are intended to be lived in community

Community and relationships have always been a challenge for me (David) because I am somewhat introverted. This is a challenge for me, not because I don’t like people, but I’ve found it easier to just be responsible to myself. I’m a bit of an introvert, so I am accustom to figuring things out in a vacuum. [1:49]

  • A discussion about introvert vs. extrovert as it relates to community building.
  • How do we deal with building community when have a tendency to introvert? [3:24]
  • Collaboration adds variables (people) that cannot be controlled.

[shareable]When you enter community, of any kind, you risk disappointment, but it’s worth it. #CalibrateLife[/shareable]

[callout]When I collaborate, I risk being taken advantage of. [4:39][/callout]

There is a simplicity that resonates with being solely responsible.

[callout]“The best leaders are great followers.” [5:44][/callout]

Sometimes the challenge with collaboration in a community is that peer groups can easily lack accountability. When we lack an accountability in any relational structure, it is difficult to build a true sense of community. [5:54]

[shareable]Collaboration within community is so valuable, we must take on the risk the challenges that come with community. #CalibrateLife[/shareable] [6:44]

Community is being better together because the unique gifts of each person in the community contributes to the strength of the whole. [7:54]

Relationships are about giving, but also about gaining.

The greatest way I can find fulfillment is to participate transformationally in someone else’s life.

If we are not in community, if we do not have life giving relationships we lack several vital things. [8:48]

  1. Opportunity for transformational impact. [9:14]
  2. The diversity necessary to accomplish complex directives. [9:54]
  3. The opportunity to be grow because of the unique gifts given me by people I love [10:28]
  4. Multiple perspective for insight. [11:26]

#2 Our visions and dreams were intended to be fulfilled in community [12:06]

We think of successful leaders as those who bootstrapped themselves to success. They were rugged individualists. They did it themselves. Not so. We cannot accomplish a vision in a vacuum. [12:45]

[shareable]We cannot accomplish a vision in a vacuum. #CalibrateLife podcast[/shareable]

Ronald Reagan Quote … in essence, “It is amazing how much we can get done if we do not care who gets the credit.” [14:04]

It really is more about who you know than what you know on so many levels. We are who we are and we gain the opportunities we gain because of our relationships and our networks. So we need to give attention to our relational investments, not for the sake of “getting ahead”, but for the sake of the impartations of those relationships into our lives and the doors than can only open through them. [15:54]

We move to the next level through our relationships.

Book Recommendation Link (Be careful with this book, at first glance it seems to be a “prosperity-get-rich-quick” book, but Hill gives some invaluable insight into the focus of great leaders and the focus necessary to press through tough stuff and accomplish the things in our hearts… please read it with this in mind. Make sure you purchase the original edition and not a knock off update.)

Napoleon Hill, in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich, coined the term “Master mind” in relations to a group of individuals defined thusly: Quote… “The “Master Mind” may be defined as: “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”” [16:04]


In this present culture of rapid change, we cannot learn fast enough alone to rise to the complexities and challenges. [19:00]

One of the effects of unresponsiveness to change is, according according to Thom Rainer (link), 200 churches close every week in the United States, and it is largely because of the following:  [19:24]

  • an inward focus and a internal and isolated community
  • an unwillingness to change and address the reality of the culture

Here’s the thing… in this change environment, we cannot learn fast enough alone to keep up. [20:10]

But if we lead in community, the benefit of multiple perspective and learning and spiritual capacity will enable us to keep up.

#3 Our growth was intended to happen in community [21:42]

Just as a mastermind group, a think tank, a network, or a band of friends helps us grow, so a community grows us, lifts us, and grows us into a better person and a better equipped person. [23:42]

This should be an evaluative point for whether or not you have found the right community. [23:54]

You need to both give and gain, but if you are leading a community and not growing in the community, you are going to have to find a network or a group of people who will help you grow, because… growth happens best in community.

  1. Am I engaging this community properly? (The part that depends upon YOU.)
  2. Is this the right community in which I should engage? (Does it fit you?)
  3. Are you able to both contribute to the community (give) and receive from the community (gain)?

(Scripture from Ephesians [29:35]) “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2.19-22 ESV

  • We are to follow the apostle/prophet model, Jesus is the head and there is a chorus of ministry gifts. [30:24]
  • We are citizens, and with citizenship comes responsibility. (Define expectations!) [31:24]
  • We are not strangers, we belong, we are to FIT and have a place to FIT. How do you find fit with a community? [32:00]
  • “Structure”… the whole structure / being joined TOGETHER / GROWS into a holy temple [34:35]

You are being built TOGETHER into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

#4 Our Lives were intended to be lived in community [35:24]

Community! Not individualism.

Individualism is the American way… but not so much the way of the ancients.

I need community and relationships in my life.

I am not lacking Christ, but I am sometimes lacking needed connection with His body. [35:34]

[shareable]I am not lacking Christ, but I am sometimes lacking needed connection with His body.#CalibrateLife[/shareable]

We need people desperately. We need people we can talk to, pour into, live life with. We need people we can connect with.

This is one of the problems of humanity — we are in a sea of people without relationship. [35:44]

  • Life is lived in the context of relationships
  • Ministry is practiced in the context of relationships
  • Leadership is executed in the context of relationships

It is all about people. God’s work in our lives, the transformational work and mission to which we commit ourselves… the object is always people… not self.

When we talk about the importance of community people always ask… what if I cannot find a community? What am I supposed to do? [36:09]

What if I cannot find a community, what do I do? [36:09]

  1. Redefine “community” [36:24]
  2. YOU find someone to invest in. We would like to have ready made solutions in life, but sometimes you have to build it. Some who are listening may need to simply grow in relationship skills).  [38:52]
  3. Keep applying pressure to “doors” of opportunity. [39:37]
  4. Don’t be the expert, don’t push in trying to be the leader, take the lowest place at the table. You serve! [40:30]

Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if “SELF” is not the object, then … [41:10] 

  1. Our spirituality is intended to be lived in community 
  2. Our visions and dreams are intended to be fulfilled in community
  3. Our growth is intended to happen in community
  4. Our Lives are intended to be lived in community

Calibration Tools: Lifting those we love and lead… [41:46]

In the Bible there are three archetypes of people/relationships we all need in our lives. [42:19]

  • We need a “Paul” who mentors us and speaks into our lives.
  • We need a “Barnabas” who is a friend, a peer, and a colleague who cares enough about us to listen to us, hold us accountable, and speak truth to us when no one else will.
  • We need a “Timothy” who is someone less experienced, or younger, or simply has something to learn from us, into whom we can give what we have to offer through our life experiences and journeys.

Question One: Who is your “Paul”, who is your “Barnabas”, and who is your “Timothy?” Can you name them. If not, you are lacking a vital element of relationship. Pray about and think about who might fulfill these roles in your life, reach out, and begin the journey of building a relationship. [44:03]

Question Two: Who is your “community?” A social media community is great, but is that really your community? It could be, in part, but there is no substitute for well-rounded relationships. What/Who is your network? A small group? A band of friends that you connect with and various levels? Who is your community? How will you find a community? What contributions should you be making to your community? Take a moment and write down 5 things you should/could do to improve or contribute to the community to which you are a part? [46:05]

Question Three: Who is your network for vision interaction? It could be a group of friends engaged in the same endeavor, it could be a staff or a team, it could be a group of like-minded individuals who sharpen each other in a video conference once a week or once a month. Who are the people who give you visional perspective beyond yourself and help you think through things and escape your vacuum? [47:11]

Question Four: What adjustments do you need to make in your life (or even in your personality) that will draw you into deeper community? How can you step out, sometimes of your comfort zone, and start to connect with people who will enrich your lives. [47:49]

Question Five: Are your dreams, visions, and goals wrapped up in “self”, or are they “others” focused? We are placed on this earth to be ministers of reconciliation and agents of transformation. How are YOU impacting the lives of others in your role as part of a community? [48:42]

Life is about transformationally investing in others.