As I was out for a very abnormal run last night (running in the evening sucks…at least for me) I was reflecting on the amazing strength of an imperfect community. NextJump, a very profitable, yet little known company I follow closely has a mantra “better me + better you = better us.” They spend more money and time on holistic (emotional, physical, spiritual, occupational) employee development than any company I know of. Because of that they generate industry leading profits and have an amazing culture…a community that focuses on the health of the people, the company, the vendors, and the customers. Before you think, “I wish my company did that!”, this has just as much to do with employee dedication to the organization as it does the company’s dedication to its employees.
Think about this for a second. We go to college for a specific occupation; maybe it was to be an accountant, or a sales and marketing professional, or human resources representative. We go to work to do a job, hopefully to the best of your ability, but for many people they are not fully engaged in what the company actually is trying to accomplish and the company is not fully engaged in the overall health of their most valuable asset: employees (people). So the results are often individual goals; a company doing everything it can to generate maximum profit for shareholders and employees who often develop a very narrow perspective around their jobs. What if we could have the best of both worlds? Focused development and growth of our employees + an authentic, compassionate and caring attitude for the stakeholders outside of the walls of the company = a more profitable organization due to healthy, happy, and selfless workforce who now acts as a community with a common goal.
As I was reflecting on this thought, I realized I have experienced this very thing in the last two years. A guy who has quickly become one of my good friends introduced me to running for someone other than myself. I had a pretty good idea of the value of community and building relationships, but Bill helped me see the power of community in the context of running and walking as a team. Our team (Team Daybreak and http://www.hopewaterinternational.com) started out with about 45 consistent runners/walkers coming out for group runs on a Saturday morning. In the end 80 people cross the finish line of the Grand Rapids Marathon either running a full or a 1/2 marathon and now the team has growth about 50% coming to groups runs for another year of training. The significance of this is the majority of the individuals would have NEVER accomplished this if it was not for the community or team. The team had a goal. We ran and walked to improve ourselves + we raised money to provide clean water for those who do not have it = a stronger community of believers who are serving the Kingdom in a far greater way than before!!!
Here is the beauty of the team…and this is something that every organization in this world can learn from whether a church or a business. Our team is a bunch of normal, everyday, broken and damaged people. We are full of liars, hypocrites, cheats, adulterers…adulterers you say? Yes, the last time I looked, Jesus said if I looked at someone with lust in my heart I have committed adultery…and guess what, I have. My point is we are broken, we all have issues, yet we all have a few things in common. We are striving to reach a goal that is far greater than ourselves, serves someone other than ourselves, and we allow Jesus to pick us back up when we fall. We refuse to dwell on the past, yet focus on the gift our savior gave us on the cross. So, what if we had more communities where people were real, felt safe, put their own insecurities away, and simply encouraged each other to a new level instead of beating them up for where they presently are? What if we had more individuals who put down their own personal desires in order to meet another’s needs…we would have stronger communities…unstoppable communities?
It is hard for me at times, but there is one thing I know beyond all doubt…If I focus on serving those around me, every need I have will be met and most likely exceeded by my Father.
Take a step towards community, because COMMUNITY > individual,