Social capital is more about belonging than belongings.
The world seems to be going back to this idea. And in cases where things in our world are going terribly downhill, a stronger social connection may be the cure.
We talk about “social media” connections, but statistic after statistic indicates that loneliness and disconnect are stronger than ever before.
When I read Simple Prosperity by David Wann, one thought stuck with me. In the social part of our lives, “the more we spend, the more we have.” Community and connections with others is an investment that grows.
The author shares this list for investing in social capital:
- How many of your neighbors’ first names do you know?
- How often do you attend parades or festivals?
- Do you volunteer at your kids’ school? Or help out senior citizens?
- Do you trust your local police?
- Do you know who your U.S. senators are?
- Do you attend church services? Are you involved in your church?
- Do you sign petitions? Or attend neighborhood meetings?
- Do you think the people running your community care about you?
- Can you make a difference?
- How often do you visit with friends or family?
When freely and wisely spent, investing in social capital will help you and your community on the whole. Relationships flourish. Crime decreases. The economy is better. Life is less complicated. Kindness expands and is contagious. The list goes on.
According to the author, a wealth of scientific data supports what we’ve known in our hearts all along: without strong social and spiritual connections, we wither.
Christians should be investing in this kind of social capital with each other; and in their churches, neighborhoods, and communities.
It takes time, a heart for people, and seeing the world as God sees the world. It means loving others because he first loved us.