April 3, 2024

The 7 Cs of a Healthy Community

Does your Community Support Spiritual Health? Research indicates seven ideals.

If you are among the fortunate, you grew up within a community that affirmed your identity as a unique and beautifully created individual, helped support your development, provided you with a set of values and ideals that you still hold dear, and surrounded you with people who loved and cared for you. These aspects of community encourage healthy spirituality and are so important for thriving. For those of you who were less fortunate, you might have grown up in a community that felt oppressive, rules driven, and maybe even frightening. Don’t lose hope, because there are always possibilities for growth and finding the support you need.

We are all being continually formed by the communities in which we are embedded, so it’s probably wise to take a good look at where you are spending your time and with whom.  If you are building a community, here are some important factors to keep in mind.  Use this simple framework for assessing your current community, or perhaps consider them when building and developing supportive communities in your work.

Healthy spiritual communities support healthy spiritual growth and include:


Members are challenged toward coherence, aligning their personal and their community’s beliefs with their behaviors.


There exists a process for managing disagreements through listening, conflict resolution, and perspective taking.  Communities provide mentoring through deep cross generational relationships.


Love between community members is fostered by empathy and compassion.

Common Values

The values of a community should align with the goals, common cause, or purpose of the community.  Does the community value the individual and the community in equal measure?


A community has a common moral code consistent with its belief systems. If you don’t show up, people notice.  If you act badly, people call it out.  No shaming, just naming, then offering love and support.  A healthy community develops a sense of accountability between members.


There are opportunities for leadership and service.


Members of the community feel known by others and feel their voices are heard within the community.  Active listening, vulnerability, and emotional attuning are encouraged to improve connections.

Practices to try

Questions to Improve Communities

How to Build Bonds with Others

Examine the Presence, Absence, and Quality of Your Relationships

For further reading

Religion as Fertile Ground

Spiritual Formation in Theological Settings

CI Study of Positive Youth Development

Jilleen Westbrook Senior Director


Continue Exploring


Created for Community (Part 1): How We Moved Away From our Village


A Practice: Examine the Presence, Absence, and Quality of Your Relationships


A Practice: How to Build Bonds With Others

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