The Evolution of Community

by Lee Buford on May 14, 2010

What is community? Certainly what it means to you may be different than what it means to me. One certainty, I believe, is that it’s meaning changes from place to place, time to time, and situation to situation.

Community is definitely geographical in nature…real or perceived. The people you live around and work with are part of your community. The friends you hang out with are part of your community. We like to support community events, businesses, and efforts to bring about positive change. We make every effort to support and celebrate those from our community, anyone who is “one of us.”

But as times change and technology evolves our communities are expanding. No longer are we simply aligned with, influenced by, or confined to the places and people who live, work, and worship nearby…those who are geographically connected in a physical sense by neighborhoods or zip codes. In fact, in many cases, we are less connected to those people by virtue of where we invest our time and energy.

Technology, all of it, is changing the game.

Cell phones allow us to talk, anytime, anywhere. Email and mobile devices such as the BlackBerry and iPhone have become the new American Express cards…nobody leaves home without them. And social media platforms and applications have allowed us to connect and build virtual communities of people who share common interests, passions, and lifestyles.

So what does all this change mean to you and me as individuals, and how does it impact our roles within our communities?

It means opportunity…both good and bad. While it can be a great benefit to be incredibly mobile, efficient, and productive on a larger scale, it also means we must work harder to establish and grow meaningful and authentic relationships. We must do something we are quickly growing unaccustomed to…we must slow down, truly engage, and listen to our community. We must love, care for, and serve those in our community.

It’s counter-cultural in today’s society. It’s not easy. It’s more time consuming. But it’s necessary. If not, what is the true value in being part of a community anyway?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Chris Lewis May 14, 2010 at 11:00 am

Great post Lee!

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