Four Selfish Urges that Kill Community

By Gary Rohrmayer

Relationship building takes time, energy and discipline. As a movement leader my life has always been on the move, traveling at a high rate of velocity. I am often darting from one appointment or project to another trying to catch my breath between meetings and yet God moves according to his time frame, not mine. I have to admit that because of my busyness and people intensive schedule that there are times that I just get “peopled out.”   I don’t have the mental, emotional or physical energy for another spiritually intense relationship. 

Psychologist Larry Crabb in his book “Connecting” writes,  “The greatest need in modern civilization is the development of communities –communities where the heart of God is home, where the humble and wise learn to shepherd those on the path behind them, where trusting strugglers lock arms with others as together they journey on.” 

But why is it so hard to build true community? Crabb offers this answer in what he calls the four selfish urges that can kill our ability to connect others deeply:


City building – is when we try to control our environment by trusting our own resources and our own adequacy. And yet we only move towards kingdom building when we move through the valley of death— which in this case, is going through the desert of inadequacy. Having all our resources stripped away and humbly trusting the God who delights in me and provides all the resources I need.


Fire Lighter – is one who controls his environment through a strategic lookout. Always looking for a play, a formula and people who will agree with him. And yet, to experience true and deep connection with others God must take them through the valley of death, which is irresolvable confusion. A time when none of his plans work, none of his strategies seem successful and God leads him to become a trusting follower completely dependent on his leader.


Wall Whitewasher – is one who controls their environment through craving safety and being around people who will provide more protection to them. And yet, for them to genuinely connect with others they must face the difficulties that make them feel completely vulnerable then they can become a confident risk taker and develop the courage needed to move from self-protection to self-surrender to God’s leading and guiding.


Well Digger – is one who tries to control their environment by eliminating painful experiences through things or experiences that relieve or deaden the pain. It is a type of escapism. And yet it is that escapism that God uses to show them their need. Through it they usually hurt those close to them. It is only when they see the damage they have caused others that they are set free to become a water drinker who experiences the joy of knowing God and the pleasure of serving Him.


The author of Hebrews wrote, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).  May God give us courage to look with in and power to live out the gospel in building meaningful relationships and transformation communities of faith.

Written by: Gary Rohrmayer, for more from Gary visit his blog 


Relationships, Church Health, Gary Rohrmayer