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10 Ways To Avoid Building Community

I have the position at my church with the title, Pastor of "Doing Life Together". Pretty niffty huh? The reason that I have that title is because the scope of my responsibilities are to help people move from their First Impressions on Sunday to establishing Lasting Connections. In a nutshell, I am committed to helping people connect at Big Creek.

Needless to say, I get torqued when I hear people saying "I don't feel connected". Now of course, one response should be to ask, "What are we doing or not doing at Big Creek that is making it difficult to connect?" It first needs to be a question about our systems and processes. But the flip side of the coin is, "What is that person doing or not doing that it prohibiting their ability to connect?" That question has got to be asked as well.

I can be responsible for what we do at Big Creek, but only an individual at Big Creek can be responsible for their own choices.

With that in mind, consider this "sarcastic" list in order to help evaulaute whether or not you are doing all that it takes to build community and get connected....

10 Ways to Avoid Building Community Within Your Church

1. Keep conversations short.
Just like the old Dragnet character, Joe Friday, "Just the facts..." Don't get into details. Don't share anything with an emotional element to it. Make conversations short and sweet. You are busy, you have a lot to deal with in your life, if you talk to someone you might get close to them and that takes time and energy that you don’t have. Just keep it short and sweet, don’t bother talking about anything more than the weather. The key is if you don’t know a person is hurting, then you don’t have to do anything about it.

2. Always sit in your “assigned” seat
By always sitting in the same seat you always sit around the same people. These folks know the deal, and stick to the appropriate 30 second conversations: weather, sports, how the new preacher is doing, etc. Also, this keeps you from having to venture out, meet new people, and possibly sit next to someone you aren’t familiar with. Also, if you catch someone sitting in your assigned seat, make sure to stare them down and feel uncomfortable. That will teach them and perhaps they won't come back your church again.

3. Avoid new people
If possible come to church through the back door. It’s one thing to deal with all the people that you already know at church, but it’s another to actually meet new people. Seriously, you aren’t good with names, you don’t have the time, or the energy, so just walk right past anyone you don’t know. After all, they won’t notice that you totally avoided them.

4. Come late to church
Don’t overlook the beauty of this one. By coming in late you totally avoid even the 30 second conversations. And (bonus), you avoid the new people! It just makes life easier.

5. Leave immediately after the service (or early)
You got to get out quickly in order to get a seat at the local restaurant. This strategy has the same benefits as coming in late. If you add this method with the coming in late method you could go to a church for years and never meet anyone.

6. Be physically present but mentally absent
When talking to someone, pretend to listen by nodding your head and saying “uh huh” while you are really thinking about what football game comes on TV later that afternoon. Basically, this strategy allows you to engage people on the superficial level. After all, you’re just there to put in your “time” and then get on with your life.

7. Don’t share a meal
If you goal is to avoid community, this step is of the utmost importance, don’t ask people to lunch! Especially don't invite people over your house for a meal, that would be doubly stupid. Sharing a meal is an intimate thing that creates deeper relationships. So, when someone asks you to lunch fake a stomach ulcer or something, just get out of it.

8. Stay very, very busy
This strategy is used by practically everyone on in North Atlanta. The busier you are, especially on a Sunday, the less time you have to “deal” with people. In fact, attempt to be so busy that when speaking to someone you never even stop walking past them as you say hello. Also use the old Seinfeld trick of walking quickly and look annoyed. Everyone will think you are busy and won't bother talking to you.

9. Make your default response “everything is great” or "fine"
People will always ask how you are doing. Make sure that you have your “default” answer ready so that when they ask you are ready to say, “everything is great!” or "fine". This must be your default response, otherwise you might actually let on that your life is not perfect, or worse, that you are struggling and actually human. If you make the mistake and share anything more it could lead to deeper conversation and deeper relationship. If you are going to really avoid community while in church, this is probably your best weapon.

10. Don’t show up
This is definitively your best method of avoiding community overall because there is no community where there are no people.



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