With any group, it’s not significant if people aren’t committed. Several months ago, I attended and spoke at a national conference at the Anaheim Convention Center. While I was attending my event Disney Con or the D23 Expo was also happening. Disney fans are committed. And, if you have ever been to a Disney Park you can also see what a fan club they have acquired over the years.  Disney knows their “people” and what they like and want. They go out of their way to make sure everything Disney represents lives up to the demands and desires of their followers. Their brand is creating the “happiest place on earth.” So, whether it’s watching a Disney film, TV show, playing with a toy, or going to the park, Disney wants you connected to your “happy” place. 

So, here are a few thoughts on why great groups centered around a compelling purpose can start a movement with loyal fans that can change the culture. 

First, community is essential to any group. 

Connecting and socializing is important not just in person but in continual contact through social media, blogs, email blasts or however best suits the group. In today’s digital culture creating a group and community of like-minded followers is easier than ever. But it is essential to create space for all to feel welcome, included and connected and most importantly they want to be able to express themselves. They want to have a voice and a vote. It’s why reality shows all have some kind of audience participation. The audience wants to choose too. Disney knows their people because they are continually checking in with them. They spend huge amounts of time and money on surveys, testing movies, and in personal conversations with their fan base. Communities can be big or small but ultimately, they have to focused on a core value. 

Values sometimes called a world view, are the second most important aspect of forming a committed group.

I go back to the early Christian church as can be read about in the book of Acts in the Bible. They were small, but they would eventually dominate the world and turn a hedonistic Roman culture into a Christian one. They were focused and committed to each other and to their core values outlined in the Bible. They were willing to die for what they believed because they had experienced a core value, a world view in their personal lives that was transforming. They believed Christianity brought freedom even though they were slaves to the Romans, and they committed themselves to pass it on to others. When you have a community that is focused on the same values or world view, then you have a group that isn’t bashful. You have a united front of people who are willing to stand up and live out their beliefs. 

Finally, committed groups are emboldened to share.  

Groups who think the same want to be with each other, grow stronger and get excited to share beliefs and thoughts. They become creative and sensitive to how to include others. They support each other giving their time, talents and money toward improving and growing the health of the community. 

Acts 2: 42-47 (PT) tells how the early Christians united as a group, “Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles. Their hearts were mutually linked to one another, sharing communion and coming together regularly for prayer. A deep sense of holy awe swept over everyone, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. All the believers were in fellowship as one body, and they shared with one another whatever they had. Out of generosity they even sold their assets to distribute the proceeds to those who were in need among them. Daily they met together in the temple courts and in one another’s homes to celebrate communion. They shared meals together with joyful hearts and tender humility. They were continually filled with praises to God, enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were coming to life.

We launched The Influence Lab and Influence Lab Women to be just this… a committed group and community. 

We are committed to the core values of Christianity and the passion to see the redemptive story of Jesus heard and followed. As the early Church mentored us, so too do we want to replicate their choices. As professionals in media and entertainment, we want to build a global media community that will share, train, empower, and humbly serve each other so that all may know the Truth. 

In today’s culture of competition, demeaning and undercutting of each other in order to be seen and get ahead we have become possessive. We hoard. We keep what we have long labored over, fought for in positioning ourselves in our careers, and fear the theft of our cherished skills and talents. We don’t want to give it away or share. We fought too hard with blood, sweat and tears to get where we are in our minds. We remember the sacrifices and suffering.  But have we forgotten God’s sacrifice for us? His son. The Bible tells us that even Jesus learned by sacrifice. In Hebrews 5:8 (PT), “But even though he was a wonderful Son, he learned to listen and obey through all his sufferings.”

Can we be obedient in the same way? 

God is calling us to break this mindset of competition and hoarding amongst ourselves. To apply His wisdom and step away from our selfish selves knowing that all we possess is ultimately His. He is the giver of all our gifts. He has blessed us with influence and is The Source for our future. To risk it all and lend our talents, skills, and provision to others knowing that as we do, we will grow in numbers and the ability to do more for the Kingdom globally.  The early Church proved it. The Bible tells us that they grew in numbers rapidly and flourished.

Friends and groups matter. They have a voice. Look for ways to cultivate friendships in the office,  on production sets, and in your community. Be willing to give sacrificially and to put yourself into those messy uncomfortable places. Those hard places will become places of joy as they did for the early Church.

“Don’t hide the light. Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16-18 (PT).