What is Community?

By Dr. Ritche L Carney

www-abbaconnectHello Austin!  Austin Bridge Builders Alliance (ABBA) is just that “a bridge” to community.  We like to say “Connecting our Community – Transforming our City”.  But what is community?

Cities are vast, complex, interconnecting webs of peoples, cultures and systems.  Such complexity can often lead people to isolate from one another.  We may all call greater Austin (or Round Rock, Buda, Manor, Pflugerville, San Marcos, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander and the list goes on) our home but we are “ALL” unique and different.  Our lives revolve around the community of family, friends, neighborhood, work, culture or passions.  As we commute by bike, car and increasingly train we pass through multiple communities knowing and sometimes caring little about those we pass by day in and day out.  Besides, life’s busy is it not?

But there is hope.  God doesn’t just move in a church, but through the marketplace, the government, civic institutions, nonprofits and personal encounters. As a Christian in this city and region we call Greater Austin, we constantly encounter people who do not have a relationship with God.  These are people of great value to God.  These are people who listen to us, watch us and form opinions about faith based on our behavior and relationship to them and those around them.  They and we are seeking community, a feeling of fellowship and connection.  Somewhere where we feel safe, respected and wanted.  Community is an intentional effort of reaching out to others as a person of peace.  A person of peace mends the broken and damaged so that they and we are restored to usefulness.  Each day provides yet another opportunity to develop community so that together we can make a huge difference for the Kingdom of Christ.

That’s ABBA…every day we are jazzed about opportunities to connect churches with churches, marketplace leaders with nonprofits, civic and community leaders with the faith community and on and on as we seek to bridge people and organizations across our city into community.  Together we can do more!

We leave you with this question:  If community is so important why don’t we experience it more often?