Tribes vs. Movements

I read Seth Godin’s Tribes when it first came out, but recently decided I needed to re-read it. In the season of life I’ve found myself in “tribes” seem to be playing a big role. I’ve found a place in several different tribes of varying sizes. Tribes where I’ve found community, friends, & mentors. I’m also, somewhat begrudgingly, coming to the realization that whether I like it or not & whether I consider myself one or not, God may be calling me to be a leader within a tribe. And so, back to the basics I’m going.

I haven’t finished the book a second time yet, but in just the first few pages something struck me – the difference between a tribe & a movement. I think we often confuse or equate the two.

Godin defines a tribe as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” A few pages later in the book Godin says, “Every one of those [stuck] tribes, though, is a movement waiting to happen, a group of people just waiting to be energized and transformed…A movement is thrilling. It’s the work of many people, all connected, all seeking something better.”

You see, a tribe is not a movement. All that’s required to be a tribe is to exist with commonality. A tribe communicates with itself. A movement communicates with the world…through action. A movement requires action…a movement is a tribe in action…a tribe in action creates a movement.

And the world needs more than tribes, it needs movements. It needs people who step out in faith and do something…together.

Sidenote: I found the image above in a Flickr photo group for To Write Love on Her Arms –  a tribe that has created a movement of love. Check out what they’re doing here.

With courage, Katie

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