By Paula Moldenhauer

A Solid handshake

Spontaneous applause, everyone on their feet, cheering at a ballgame

A mentor and a mentee

Friends scattered on chairs and floor, heads back in laughter

Tender fingers wiping tears

Group hug

A tangled circle of arms and bowed heads, praying

An email that says, “good job”

What do all these images have in common?

How about: Community.

Community is beautiful, necessary, and Biblical. It’s how we’re wired, in the image of the Triune God who lives every moment in perfect community. As I’ve thought about ACFW Colorado and what God wants for us, I believe community is toward the top of his list.

One of my favorite community building verses comes from Romans 12: 15. “Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].” (AMP)

I love how the verse amplifies the idea of genuine support—not watching from a distance, but being willing to be involved in another person’s joy and pain.

Here are a few more community thoughts from Romans 12 (various verses):

  • Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. (9a, NLT)
  • Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. (10-11a, NLT)
  • Practice playing second fiddle. (10, The Message)
  • Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. (14-16, The Message)

The above verses offer a glimpse of who we want to be in ACFW Colorado. As writers who are on the same team we don’t need cut-throat competition or corporate ladder climbing. Writing is often solitary, disappointing, and demanding. Despite the lone hours you sit in front of your computer, we don’t want you to be alone in the journey.

We need the kind of community Christ talks about, where we cheer each other on, offer genuine affection, and believe there is no such thing as nobodies—where friendship isn’t about becoming the great somebody.

Our newest community building effort at ACFW Colorado is built upon these concepts. It’s a secret Facebook page called, Our Neck of the Woods. It’s secret because only ACFW Colorado members can be part of the group, see the group, know who’s in the group, and see what others post.

Our Neck of the Woods is a place for ACFW CO members to go and support each other, ask for help, brag about news, share web/blog sites, ask other members to “Like” FB pages, and, in general, encourage and support each other.

As a part of Our Neck of the Woods, I’ve seen the concepts from the above verses in action. We’re delighting in honoring each other and laughing with our friends. When we like each other’s pages and comment on blogs or statuses, we show our writing buddies genuine affection.

If you’re an ACFW CO member but aren’t in Our Neck of the Woods, go to the member’s only section of ACFWColorado.com and click on Our Neck of the Woods to find out how to participate.

If you’re already a member, let me say, “thank you!” Let’s keep up the good work and grow in our ability to “really love” each other.

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