Community Capacities and Community Necessities
A Call to Action by John McKnight
There is a new worldwide movement developing, made up of people with a different vision for their local communities. They know that movements are not organizations, institutions or systems. Movements have no CEO, central office, or plan. Instead, they happen when thousands of people discover together new possibilities for their lives. They have a calling. They are called. And together they call upon themselves.
Question: If we want to create a more powerful neighborhood, what information do we need?
Thoughts: To bring neighbors together there are three kinds of useful information. We have to discover our neighbors’ gifts. We have to seek out local strangers. Finally we need to find out the groups people belong to, the institutions where they work or have connections.
Question: Why is hospitality so important?
Thoughts: One key to a strong and satisfying community is the spirit of welcome and hospitality. This spirit powers community by recognizing we need the gifts of everyone, and everyone needs to give their gifts. This calls for a special effort to meet your neighbors who have been marginal or isolated — the strangers in our midst.
Question: Why do associations matter?
Thoughts: Many neighbors are connected to interesting and productive groups clubs and associations. Many neighbors may be interested in connecting their interests or gifts to these groups. Many of these groups may join the neighbors in undertaking a community project.
Question: Why create a Connector’s Table?
Thoughts: To become useful, the gifts, strangers, associations and institutions identified in the community must be linked together. People in the neighborhood must do the connecting. Some neighbors can do this individually. Other neighbors may be especially experienced or talented “connectors.”