It’s been ages since I’ve blogged, mainly because I feel as if I’ve been stuck in a huge reflecting and sense making process and everytime I’ve tried to come up with something cohesive I’ve had to go back to the drawing board!
Being part of the Lubbesthorpe Development means you are in a constant state of growth and change with new people arriving all the time. Whilst I’m usually happy with change, the long ongoing nature of this means it can be unsettling and I’m beginning to struggle to pin things down. There are many occasions when I’ve come up with something of a way forward and the next day or week something comes in left field and you need to adapt.
A typical example of this is about three weeks ago. I’d been in the process of trying to put in some loose structures around what we are doing, reflecting deeply on the authenticity of growing community for all faiths and none, as well as growing some sort of distinctively Christian community with some core people. I had spent time mind mapping, talking to the different partners who are involved in developing the town, those residents and friends that have really got involved and those in my wider support network and I’d come up with some sort of sense-making diagram. As soon as I’d settled on it I got call from the school (which will open in September) asking what I wanted to do with the community entrance to the school leading to the space we will have to use. I hadn’t even considered this!
At some point however you have to nail your direction of travel and set off and it’s become increasingly clear that the time to do it is now. So we do have something drawn up that I hope is flexible enough to adapt but does give us some direction as well as the ability to explain what we are doing.
It still amazes how open the different partners and residents have been in joining in with the community vibe. It’s made me realise how, when you are prepared to truly welcome everyone and engage with them, they return the openness. This results in people wanting to join in our vision of growing a flourishing community.
I learnt very early on in pioneering, not to hold on to things too tightly. By trying to control things you stifle them and they fail to flourish or you try and force something to happen that has no real life in it. Holding loosely it seems, in what feels almost a dichotomy, has resulted in people wanting to join in the vision but enables growth way beyond the capacity that we really have. Weekly I get people coming up with ideas of how they want to engage in community. I give them ideas of how to get things going and they go off and do it, some things work, some don’t, many start as one thing and change into another. It’s an exciting place to be.
So, with all this in mind and with so many residents starting different things, we’re working towards creating a Community Development Network. It’s a network because it offers everyone the chance to belong and be encouraged to part of growing a flourishing community but without having an overall leader. I might act as a facilitator at times but that is all. It also means I can release the community development side of things and let it take on a life of its own. In addition to this we’re exploring a ‘Heart and Soul’ network which incorporates a number of groups people want to see happen. This includes including wellbeing, the development of some sort of Christian Community for Young Families’ and our Tuesday evening Missional Community. The plan is I can then drill down a focus on one or two areas rather than be spread too thinly.
It’s still all a work in progress but it feels like I have begun to make some sense of it all, today anyway 😂