Build a Community: Part 1

Build a Community: Part 1

Do you remember the CBS television show Kid Nation? Airing in the summer of 2007, this controversial reality TV show featured 40 children from the ages of 8 to 15 trying to create a functioning society in an abandoned town.  Awesome. I loved the show. Unfortunately, CBS canceled it in 2008. Years later I’m still fascinated by the idea and now want to test the concept again with you. So in the spirit of Kid Nation, I’ve got a challenge for you.

Here’s the situation: you have just been appointed mayor of a small town. In a struggling economy, your first task is to eliminate one critical societal institution to save costs. The town consists mostly of atheists with a variety of different backgrounds, ages, and professions. They are all looking to you to save the town and generate growth. In this town you have a school, grocery store, church, and hospital. Three of these institutions can stay but one has to go.

Nothing can be accomplished in your town until you save three of these core institutions. From these institutions everything else will flow: jobs, infrastructure, and growth. Your task here is to determine which of the four institutions will give you the best chance to succeed and grow. Or phrased another way, which of the three institutions is least critical to seed and grow a community?

Without the grocery store, your town will have very limited access to food. Without a hospital, you will have no health care. Without a church, you have no institution of government, fellowship, or worship. Without a school, you have little chance to build a workforce and attract businesses. This is a controlled environment, not the Wild West, so for the sake of discussion try and stay within the limits of the exercise. However also for the sake of discussion, get creative and explain your answer.

Even though you were appointed mayor, the town is still a democracy. You’ll have to make a decision and convince the townspeople that this decision is the right one. Post your answers and rationale in the comment section below, and in Part 2 of this challenge I will share some of the answers and begin to introduce why I think this is an important exercise for Christians. There is no right or wrong answer.

  • Which institution did you eliminate and why?
  • If you elected to keep a church in a generally atheist town, what arguments would you use to justify this decision?

Which of the functions do you live without?

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