At IDEAS, we value and believe that community is formed by intentional relationships, and is the context in which we collaborate, work, serve and care.
- a group of interdependent individuals growing and living together in a specified habitat
- a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing a similarity or identity
Community is an important word to me- it defines and brings depth to my relationships, it gives purpose to how I live and invest my life; it gives meaning to who I am and how I am a part of the bigger picture.
Community is my motivation! Well, transformation is! But it is said that, "One of the best ways to change a community is to change the lives of people living in it." At IDEAS, we talk a lot about transformation and restoring hope among the communities we serve. I desire to be a change agent in my adopted community- through the relationships I am building, as I become a learner of my new culture and language, and as I offer the skills and experiences I am a steward of.
What I’ve come to see is that I can’t change the community I am a part of without living in community. I need others, and they need me. Living and working cross-culturally is not for the faint-hearted, as fulfilling and challenging as it is; it can be lonely to be removed from friends and family, and the familiarities of one’s passport culture.
With time, I have seen that the greatest transformation has taken place in me, as I’ve lived in community. I have been challenged and sharpened in relationships, I have built life-long friendships through shared life and hardships, my view and understanding of God and His world has been stretched much more than had I been left to my own understanding, and I believe I have been much more effective, than had I been left to myself.
At IDEAS, we value and believe that community is formed by intentional relationships, and is the context in which we collaborate, work, serve and care. I believe that is one dynamic which sets us apart from other organizations.
Yes, we have goals and plans and desire transformation, but those things are set in the context of community- a community committed to provide care, accountability, tools and resources for growth. It is work and requires effort, but it is worth it. We learn from one another. We are individuals, each bringing unique skills and training to the mix; we are interdependent, needful of and benefitting from one another. I have learned that living in community is key to transforming a community.
About the Author: Sue is an IDEAS Associate and lives with her family in Jordan.