90-Day Goal: Day 69: Work is Communal

Kelly Kannwischer
March 12, 2021

When you were a student did you love or loathe group projects? It can definitely be a mix of both challenge and reward working with a group of people. Organizational psychology is an exploding field as workplaces look for better ways to help people work together effectively and productively. With the explosion of virtual and remote working, we are experimenting with new ways to work together even when we are not together. 

Whether or not we prefer a group project or working alone, working in an office or virtually, the reality is that our work is communal. Thomas Merton, a 20th century Trappist monk from Kentucky, made a helpful distinction between the concept of community and a collective. 

A community is one in which people are present with one another. In a community people are emotionally and spiritually available to one another through an openness to discovery and interest in learning together. 

A collective, on the other hand, is one in which people simply share the same physical or digital spaces. People who are in a community are present with each other. People who are in a collective simply share the same physical or digital spaces. 

Work is necessarily communal. While we certainly need time alone to think and create, our work is a shared experience. We work for a company, on a time, and for a shared mission.

Tip 69: Work is Communal.

Paul uses the image of a body in 1 Corinthians 12 to showcase that we are designed to be dependent on one another. We all bring different gifts and talents to the community that are needed and cannot be offered by someone else. 

We need one another not out of insecurity or inadequacy, but because we are designed to edify and lift one another up. When we show up and are present with one another we make one another better. 

Our work brings us into a much needed community. If the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted anything it is that participating in a collective is far inferior to being in a community. We can share space in a Zoom room or be connected to one another on Facebook but we won’t necessarily work in a way that creates or produces.

True community is one in which our souls connect and it is core to who we are as people. We are truly more than the sum of our parts.


Please send me your questions, challenges, and suggestions as we continue in the 90-Day Goal Together. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing the journey with you. 

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Kelly Kannwischer

Kelly Kannwischer

Kelly Beckham Kannwischer is an executive, consultant and not-for-profit coach and leader. Kelly lives in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as Cofounder and CEO of the Future Church Company and CEO of Younique. Previously, Kelly lived and worked in Orange County, California where served Vanguard University as a Vice President and President of the Vanguard University Foundation. Kelly is an accredited Insights Discovery Client Practitioner and Certified Fundraising Executive. Kelly is married to Rev. Dr. Richard Kannwischer and is the proud mother of Danica (age 17) and Ashby (age 15). When she is not working or volunteering, Kelly enjoys playing golf, reading, and enjoying the outdoors.