What is the joy of ministry? People. What is most irksome thing about ministry? People. What is the most uplifting thing about ministry? People. What can burn you out to the core and exhaust you? People. The same could be said of community. Community would be so much easier without people. But then this community, this Foundation, it would be pyramid selling scheme rather a gathering of people who actually want to care for each other. We have to get this right otherwise any residential house or parish becomes a cosy club or even worse a cult. Here investment in relationships and prayer is paramount. This is where we have to sweat it.
Community is lived out in the details. The same can be said of any relationship including marriage. The battles are not necessarily fought over politics or religion but on how the dishwasher is loaded or whether or not the toilet has been left clean. These details communicate a tremendous amount and can be easily overlooked. I nearly got chucked out of seminary for not changing the toiler roll in my first month. The rector rightly asked me if I could not be trusted in the small things how could be trusted in the big things? (Luke 16.10)
These investments pay over time and become their own reward. Visitors pick this up from our churches and worship services. But it takes time and such a way of life cannot be reduced to a marketing exercise. It has to penetrate the soul of any community - it has to be embedded in its DNA.