Being involved with college students means creating community every semester or at least every fall. Often, we have to learn to create community from scratch.

Here are seven principles for Catalyzing Community whether you are trying to start a small group, ministry, a non-profit organization, or a church:

Principle #1: Cause creates community.

Our cause = moving people to become the person God created them to be. We are united when have the same purpose. The Lord of the Rings helps us understand the word “fellowship” better which translated as “partnership in the gospel” in Phil. 1:5. Hobbits, dwarves, elves, and humans united together to save civilization. How much greater is our cause to bring hope to humanity!

Our goal is not creating community. Our goal is he cause of Christ which is what unites us.

Principle #2: Meet the needs of those around us.

We need to seek to meet the physical, emotional, economic, and spiritual needs of those around us. We should be pursue helping change the environment and change the individual who is looking for change.

Principle #3: Reach out to Xenos

Hospitality means loving strangers. A similar word, “hospice,” means “a safe place.” Our homes, our businesses, and our churches should become safe places for strangers to experience kindness and love.

Principle #4: Develop authentic friendships with those you know.

Are we loving, serving, and influencing our family, neighbors, co-workers and friends? Jesus was willing to ruin His reputation to reach out to others who were far from God.

Principle #5: Allow people to belong before they believe.

We should never allow our convictions to become a litmus test for friendship. In fact, we should actively pursue friendships with people – even people with whom we may disagree. Go to for more on the staff process at Mosaic.

Come as you are, and you don’t have to stay that way! (see

Principle #6: Raise up a team of leaders to replace you

MPAC = Ministry through a pastor, assimilator, and catalyst. We need to make decisions based on who is not yet here rather than who has been here the longest.

Principle #7: Start Over

**For the rest of the notes, email me at with “Catalyzing Community” in the subject or you can listen to the conference call at my site’s audio messages at Catalyzing Community – 2nd audio from the bottom. You will also find interviews with Dan Kimball, Erwin McManus, Margaret Feinberg, and many others.

Eric Bryant May2013Dr. Eric Michael Bryant leads a cohort earning a Doctorate of Ministry in Missional Effectiveness through Bethel Seminary. Eric serves with Gateway Church in Austin, a church known for their mottos: “no perfect people allowed” and “come as you are, but don’t stay that way.” Prior to Gateway, Eric served as part of the leadership team at Mosaic in Los Angeles. Eric’s book, Not Like Me: A Field Guide for Influencing a Diverse World, equips people to engage with others no matter what their differences.