Leadership: On Cultivating Community

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978), US anthropologist

I have always been drawn to communities. From a very young age, I had a small sense of tribalism. We were raised in a small town in South Carolina among family members, dear friends who were an extension of our family, mentors, teachers, coaches, and other community leaders. Those who nurtured my beginnings understood and embodied the African proverb: It takes a village to raise a child.

But somewhere along the lines, children grow up. Those children began to embody or take on the values of their peers and other messengers or impostors around them. Impostors want us to believe that we can do it all on our own, leave others behind, and pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. Indeed, this is the American way. It is the way of pride and a way that lacks grace. But God has called us as Christian leaders to live a gospel and others-centered way. This is the way of the cross, the way of laying down our lives for the sake of others, and the way that considers the needs of the collective whole—the community—above our own self-centered way.

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