By Bret Bernhardt
In my last post, we discussed the importance of community while working on Capitol Hill. The Fall is always a good time to take stock of your community, since it typically comes on the heels of time away from work during the summer and a break in your routine.
Now it’s time to get back into that routine and discover the importance of your community.
Author Chris Crowley says that we are mammals in our physiological make-up. As such, we are designed to run in herds or packs. I believe this natural tendency to congregate was implanted into our being by our loving Creator.
Now that you know your community is important, we will turn our attention to ways to make that happen. The best and most meaningful community is one that uniquely fits you. This means, that you will need to shape what it looks like.
The most poignant community for you will likely be found in people you already know. So, finding one or more relationships you can invest in and with will be your most valuable community.
What this looks like is found in reaching out to one or more people you know that you can meet with on a regular basis. Don’t let the logistics of it or a fear of commitment get in the way of experimenting with what this looks like.
“What this looks like is found in reaching out to one or more people you know that you can meet with on a regular basis.”
This isn’t a marriage or a lifelong commitment, certainly at this point. It is, however, the seed bed for meaningful and possibly long-lasting relationships and community.
When I was on the Hill, I attended a regular Friday morning breakfast group of like-minded staffers who met either in the Longworth or Dirksen cafeterias at 8 AM for breakfast.
This was the most meaningful aspect of my personal time working on the Hill. Having these intentional relationships helped me make it through the ups and downs of working in the Senate.
It consisted of someone willing to take the lead in organizing it and inviting people to come. The structure of the time was pretty loose, and occasionally had someone from outside the group share a thought or concept. But, more often than not, it was self-lead.
“Having these intentional relationships helped me make it through the ups and downs of working in the Senate.”
Your group may not look exactly like this, but it is one way to begin developing those relationships on the Hill that will give you life and vibrancy to each and every day you are there.
There is no particular resource for forming your group, since it will be personal to you and your current relationships. Step out in faith and be willing to give your friends the freedom to come or not, but eventually you will find the people the Lord wants you to be with.
While your current friendships are the most important resource available to you, the Hill offers ample other resources to help you in finding the right community. Below is a small list of those.
If you are already part of a church, this is likely the best source of friendship and community you can find. Most, if not all, evangelical congregations have small-group ministries that are available for you to join, and I would highly encourage you to do so.
There are many churches and organizations to choose from but I will focus for now on those with a Capitol Hill ministry or component:
Looking for a Hill Job?
Check out this five-part HillFaith series by Bret Bernhardt. He has a wealth of experience, insider insight, how-tos and obscure terms (Example: Do you know what a “golden reference” is on the Hill?), plus lots of helpful links.