The city in which I live is my community, and my neighborhood is my community. I have a community of friends who don’t live in my community. I’m part of a community of church business administrators, both locally and nationally.
We can be a part of almost any community we choose, and there are many to choose from. Yet, being a part of a community on paper —or of some group on the internet — can still leave you feeling alone and isolated.
I have found over the years that people pick and choose the church they attend for many different reasons. One common reason that crosses all boundaries is community. People are looking to be a part of a group of living, breathing human beings. They want to feel connected.
With the numerous social networking platforms, everyone has an opportunity to be a part of a community. These online communities are great for inviting people in and connecting them to others with like interests. But, there comes a time when you need to push away from the computer and pull up a seat at the table and have a cup of coffee with your online friends. Face to face.
We have noticed that after each of our gatherings, many of the people shoot for the doors and don’t hang around. Why? Without going into a hundred different reasons, we found the main reason was our lobby was not conducive for allowing people to hang. We needed to create a space for them. Create a space that says you’re welcome to hang out for a while. We are in the process of doing a small lobby remodel that we believe will make this possible. We have one area for information that is welcoming to both new guests, as well as to those looking for additional information. Another area we have titled, “The Living Room.” I think the name says it all.
Now, just because we’ve created some new cool space for people to hang, doesn’t mean they will. We have a team of people who are specifically responsible for creating themes throughout the year. Each theme will attract different communities of people. Add a little bit of coffee or food, and now you have a reason to stick around.
Thanks for being a part of the Church Executive community. If you’re ever in Folsom, CA, stop by and let’s grab a coffee together.
Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church in Folsom, CA. Mike worked for W.W. Grainger Industrial Supply for 16 years in many different capacities. In January 2000, Mike quit climbing the corporate ladder and started climbing the Kingdom ladder. Klockenbrink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.