Whether you’re concerned about the community you live in, the community you work in, or the community in which you worship, there are always things that you look for to know whether it’s one that you desire to be a part of or to ensure it’s continuation. As I’ve been thinking about many of the communities that I’ve been a part of, I’ve come to recognize that there are 3 key reasons to why a community might actually be in a decline.
- Declining Communities Lack a Common Union – What makes a community a community is that there are common things that unite the people within them. We could call this an economy of thought, interests, philosophies, worldviews or faith. When a community loses that shared thing which they have in common, it begins to break away at the fibers of bonds that keep them together. Some towns are united because it offers something new and different from what another community offers. When the Gold Rush hit the West, people from the East flocked to it with dreams of becoming wealthy and making provisions for their future. The same could be seen during the Tech Age in Silicon Valley. When the auto industry began to pull out of Detroit, the Motor City, it was not long before the municipality was nearly destitute financially. It’s been industries like Hollywood pouring it’s own economy back into it that has sustained it in recent years.
- Declining Communities Lack Communication – A community is only as good as it’s ability to keep those in it informed and in dialog about the things happening in and around it. When communication breaks down, just as in a marriage, it becomes very difficult for progress to be achieved. People within a community have to be willing to speak up and voice concerns, expectations, and even hopes and desires in order for it to keep the bonds strong. When the communication dwindles, it becomes much more easier for divisions, discontentment, discord to occur.
- Declining Communities Lack Leadership – No community can expect to last long without leadership. Effective leadership is necessary to give a community guidance, someone to look to as the collective voice when interacting with other communities, as well as the voice of reason when things get tough.
In scripture, we can see how well the early church fared as a community of believers. We see that there was great leadership through the apostles who devoted themselves to the work of teaching, anointing and appointing. The early church went so far as to share all they had with one another that none lacked for anything. When the people began to voice concerns of the disparity between the how the elderly Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians, it was the apostle who made the decree for the people to choose deacons to commit to handle the proper dispersion of proper care so that the apostles could continue to concentrate on the bigger picture to which they were called.
If the community in which you are in seems to be on the decline because it is lacking in a common union, communication or leadership, o any combination of the three, the question becomes whether you commit to being the solution to what’s lacking, remove yourself to a community that has what you’re looking for, remain dissatisfied and hope that someone else speaks up, or pray to God the changes happen. It’s my prayer that if you’re sensing a true concern that your community is on the decline, or you believe that things could be better, that you’d pray to God to give you direction on your part in bringing the solutions necessary to taking your community back in the right direction.
QUESTION: Do you see any other reasons a community might be in decline? What other solutions do you believe are integral to turning around a declining community?
- Why Sharing Your Dreams Is So Important (huffingtonpost.com)
- Doing Apologetics from an Urban Perspective (urbanfaith.com)