What If?

While in India, I met John Michel. He is an incredible Christian brother with a passion to transform cities in America to truly become “Servant Cities.” He has a vision and a passion to see true transformation take place. I want to share with you this excerpt that introduces some of his ideas. Let me know what you think…

What If?

by John Michel

Today, we live in a world where people work together for years yet never come to really know one another; where we know more about what is happening in Iraq than we do with our neighbors across the street. In a society that increasingly courts individualism, it is easy to allow our world to shrink to the size of our desk, our cubicles, or our computer monitors. What if there was another way?

What if members of a community were to contribute their gifts and talents not because of what it says about them, but because of what it does for those in need around them? From such a perspective, the entire community is made stronger because every individual contributes their very special strength to it, and in doing so, helps establish the sense of stewardship our times demand and all people deserve.

What if everyone were to recognize that the heart of community lies in the balance of the person and the group?

After all, individuals were not designed to satisfy their own interests alone. This is the perspective that drives men and women further into the recesses of their own world and farther from the communities in which they live. This is the same perspective that reinforces that people are nothing more than interchangeable parts of an already fragmented society – a society that routinely robs itself of the greatest gift anyone has to offer to others—themselves.

What if we all came to believe that in community the differences between people should not be viewed as cause for concern, but as opportunities to appreciate the value borne of diversity? For it is in diversity of thought, opinion, talent, and perspective that true synergy is realized.

A synergy only achieved by individuals who realize the purpose of community is not for everyone to be alike, but to commit to developing one another where we are so we can ultimately arrive where we most belong.

What if the members of a community accepted that life together is about learning to grow? that learning to take the raw materials of ones life and turn it into something meaningful is to understand meaningful change has nothing to do with reaching a certain age, achieving a particular status, or accumulating specific material goods. Instead, meaningful change is realized when we learn to serve others rather than focus on satisfying ourselves.

In essence, members of servant-oriented communities come to understand and appreciate the incredible power of collaboration.

Collaboration, with its many dimensions, is the cornerstone of community. For true collaboration is not simply about the sum of individual strengths, but an accommodation of collective weakness. True collaboration is about being patient with one another as we all continue to grow (not so we can be encouraged to become what we are not, but that we may be challenged to be everything we can be) – a community where individuals are encouraged to grow to their full stature not simply for what it will do for them, but so they will have the strength to help carry someone else that needs their help to finish the race we know as life. This is the essence of collaboration and the true meaning of fulfilling our responsibility to those we serve in community.


Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer, author and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. With 30+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches.
3 replies
  1. doc.joj.
    doc.joj. says:

    Ref your observations /trip India Feb-Mar 2007/would be of more weight and value if next you stay for an year and learn. Come be my guest INCOGNITO Dave, not as a American with Dollars Dave, will cost you <2$ a day.=After 400 yrs of intense evangelism the numbers are few, 0.5% in Rajasthan, <3% overall India.= Samaria! it is just next door to me where the underprivileged live. Who cares for all the samaritan women? and how about their men? = If you have to clip my comments before publishing, then where is the fairplay? Be bold and let people tell what they feel. After all it is only those who care who will take the trouble to comment. Need it be only praise?=Street rubbish collection was stopped cos of funds. They want bull dozers or what? who makes the rubbish? I make it in my house, throw it on to the street, for the dogs beggars crows donkeys pigs and gutter rats and garbage collecting sorting selling people
    .So teach me, continue teaching me, how long? all my life. Brand new garbage collecting vehicles how far and how much will they serve the purpose?= and so on Dave.= I sound pessimist cynic? No Dave , ive been in VN 1969-74, Zambia 1979-,

    seen much, done much more, yet how much? All my life Ive been an Educator , first of myself and then my neighbor, all who come to me or i go to. Behavior, Preventive health, civic sense, Jesu, and service to the needy. The ten commands were written 3000 yrs ago, and still our religious preachers are struggling to tell us the same. = come look at all the misery in Africa and India. Now add the HIV orphans.and you will find that the efforts are for the ages.=There is no religion greater than Truth, its there. Then why push only my brand of religion? Castism, subCastism!!! It is deep rooted in the Church.= SoLong Dave, get a long VISA and come, INCOGNITO !!!! Dont come w dollars. Byeeee. george pradhaan./my profile in goooogle/

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