April 23, 2017

The Ups and Downs of Finding Like Minded People To Group With

From the beginning of time, humans have sought out each other to form community. “God did not make man to be alone”, “there is safety in numbers”, “it takes a village to raise a child” and countless other adages, quips, sayings and so forth exist about this topic. They all boil down to the same core point; we need other people for protection, to provide the things that we are unable to provide and for comradery just to name a few.

The goal of this article is to take a look at why you may want to consider forming a group, how we can find some likeminded people now, some things to consider before opening up your group to others, and some governing principles you may want to consider.
 
 
The Myth of Self-Reliance

While I think being self-reliant is a noble goal and that we should strive to be as self-sufficient and self-reliant as we can be, it is my belief that it is impossible to be truly independent of anyone else for all but the extremely wealthy.

Consider every item you’ve purchased over the last year; clothing, food, energy, paper goods, gasoline, self-defense items, entertainment. How many of those things did you have to rely on someone else to provide?

If someone owns acreage with a large garden, fruit trees and livestock and can grow all the food needed to feed themselves and their livestock, they have some of the biggest issues solved. Say they have enough solar panels to provide for all of their electricity and wood for heat. You might correctly assume that they are self-reliant.

Are they able to provide all of the labor needed to manage that property? How will they provide clothing? What if they need medical attention? Pay for taxes? All of these things mean they need to depend on others. If they produce a surplus from their land, both in terms of livestock and crops, they could sell that surplus to pay for some of these things, but then they would be dependent on people to purchase from them.
 
 
Where, oh Where, Oh Where Can They Be?

I am frequently asked, “where can one find likeminded people nearby, to get to know and possibly form a group with?” Here is every idea I have! I am hoping others add to it in the comment section.

Here is the most realistic answer, and one you might not like; your backyard. Through my church, I have been blessed to meet several other prepper’s, some of whom I’ve become close friends with. However, my church is 20 miles away and some of those close friends live even further than that! In a major survival event, the chances that we’ll be able to group up are low.

I’m not completely discounting the idea of forming long distance MAG’s (Mutual Aid Group). However, in the majority of small to medium scenarios, those that live near you, while possibly not as likeminded as we would prefer, are far more available.

Take these recent riots in Ferguson, MO. If one lived in Ferguson, they could have talked with their neighbors and agreed to watch over each other’s property. They could be from completely different political spectrums, but in that situation, an agreement could probably have been made for added vigilance. Now they might frown on what your response is if thugs try getting into one of your homes, but you don’t have to agree on every aspect to agree to look out for each other and keep each other alerted.

How can you introduce the subject of preparedness or an agreement to have each other’s backs? As with anytime you talk to others about preparedness, speak in generalities and don’t let on to how prepared you are.

This isn’t a one size fits all question. If you don’t know your neighbors well, consider getting to know them first. You might find out they are not the kind of people you want to be grouped with, or you might find they are the perfect prepping neighbor!

Social media isn’t going away, and it can be a great tool. You could create a facebook group and invite all of your neighbors. There is, however, an alternative, specifically created for this called Nextdoor.com. It is a social networking site for neighbors; you can find out more Nextdoor.com here.

Another way you could build relationships within your community is by having a block party/potluck. Everyone could bring a different side dish and their own main dish and you could grill.

One solid way to gauge someone’s level of interest or acceptance of prepping is through gardening, sharing your extra produce. Conversations about the extra veggies can lead to the reasons you grow them, which can lead to conversations on preserving, which can lead to conversations on having some extra food around. While they might not have a garden, you could offer to teach them how to can, freeze and otherwise store veggies they might buy at the local farmers market.

You could gauge someone’s willingness for an agreement to watch each other’s backs by their interest in a neighborhood watch. You could provide the neighborhood crime statistics from the local police department. If people aren’t interested, you’ve planted a seed. If things start to fall apart, they’ll probably be much more interested, and you’ve already laid the groundwork.
 
 
What Kind of People Should You Group With?

I think you should group with people that are as likeminded as possible. You might think I would say only Christian, but I have met some great non-believers, and have met some Christians that I don’t care to spend another minute with this side of heaven. To be ideal for me, it would be a group of preparedness-minded believers in Christ, because I think that could have a lot of upside. More on this later.

There are preppers from all walks of life. There are extremists from both sides of the spectrum. There are actually the stereotypical Rambo-wannabe-survivalists, and there are pot growing, tree hugging hippies. To me the term “Preppers” means anyone who prepares. So, if you’re forming a group or looking to join one, make sure they are truly your type of preppers.
 
 
Not In Your Area

Let’s say that you, for whatever reason, really want to look for people outside of your neighborhood to group up with. If you’re seeking them out online, you’ve probably already determined they are at least preparedness-minded. If they’re smart, they won’t divulge how well prepared and neither will you. I, personally, would be hesitant to trust someone who is a completely open book unless they’ve got a good reason to be. If you’re looking to join with them, anyone else they’ve been an open book with is now a liability to you. On the other hand, someone who is vague and cannot or will not answer direct questions that don’t reveal their complete level of preparedness should raise some concern as well.

I suppose there are different reasons to look for someone to join with that lives outside of one’s area. For the sake of this article, my reason is to have a remote bug out location. Before I would consider meeting in person, I would get to know them as best as I could online. If you meet on a forum, search through their old forum posts. If you meet on facebook, look through their old postings. Spend some time getting to know them via email.

Before you go in person, make sure their situation is what they claim it to be. If you have the address, doing a satellite map search will show you the approximate terrain but won’t show you the exact boundaries of the land they own. If they claimed it to be on a lake and the lake is five miles away, that would be a hint that something isn’t right.

Here are some resources I have found that can aid in finding likeminded people. I am not endorsing any of them, and if you decide to use them, please use caution.

ArkHaven Ministries: Acts Model Christian Community.

PrepperLink: Social media outlet for preppers.

AbleHaven: Social network for wandering families.

PrepperGroups.com Blog and forum

American Preppers Network One of the largest forums with the goals of connecting people in your area.

Meet Up Not just for prepping, but a great way to connect with those near you interested in various topics.

Other ways to connect with prepper’s is by conversation on facebook and twitter. I haven’t been a regular to any forums in years but I know there are some very high quality ones out there.

If you have a suggestion please post it in the comment or via email to Chris {at} preparedchristian [dot] net and I will add it to this list.
 
 
Interview Potential Members

I would really treat a meeting with potential group members as a job interview. You don’t need to know how many beans they’ve got but knowing what got them interested, when they started, if their family is on board, what they would do if money was no object are pertinent questions. Ask questions about them and their preparedness journey; how they handle conflict, what benefits they see in a group, what potential conflicts they might see, etc. Ask questions that matter to your group. If you think it is important that every child learn to shoot and every adult carries a firearm, you might want to see if that is a problem as well.

My all-time favorite prepper fiction book is Lights Out. I think this is probably the most realistic depiction of how things would unfold in a large scale event. One of the things I liked is that the group of neighbors in Lights Out have limited space but realize they need to bring in other people. They decide to bring in people that complement their skills sets.

If you decide to form a group with others, it might be a good idea to do the same. If you’re an avid hunter with all the gear one could possibly need but have no idea how to grow a carrot, someone with gardening experience might be a good idea. More than a few people have contacted me or written a comment that they would really like to join a group. The best advice I can give you is to know various skills.

Your physical condition and the equipment you bring to the table could matter. If things go sideways and I form a group, if an elderly person who has gardened all their life and knows what will grow in this area, how to propagate, how to store excess, etc. is looking to join, in my opinion, they are just as valuable as a 25 year old man who is in great shape and is willing to work. I’m simplifying this because it would really depend on what holes my group had but you get the idea.
 
 
Leadership and Conflict Resolution

If your group consists of more than a couple families, coming up with some form of leadership might be a good idea. I mentioned before that in my ideal group it would be like minded Christian preppers and I would add “that I get along with”. The reason for this is that we are given a leadership model in the book of Act’s; a group of people chosen to be the head, all looking to Christ for Guidance. Acts doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the workings of this group but I would imagine they spent time together to discuss important topics, each giving their take on the subject. I imagine they prayed together, seeking Gods will on important topics. We’re told they rolled bones to decide who would join as a Disciple; this tells me that even they had a hard time now and then knowing His will. We’re also told they delegated some lower responsibilities to other trusted people.

We’re given a good guide as to what the standard should be for the leadership council. To me, the same standards suggested for an Elder in 1st Timothy 3:2-7 and Acts 6:3 make good sense;

“So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.

He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money.

He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him.

For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?

An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.

Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.”

Act’s 6:3

“And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.”

I don’t know that I would say being a man was a qualification, but I think the same standards should apply to women who want to be in the leadership role.

If your group is formed the group decides who will be in charge, I would make sure there is a contract of sorts in place; something that places some checks and balances on the leader and offers protection to everyone.

I think that no matter what leadership route you take, a contract is a good idea. On it, have an agreement that no one will sue anyone for any reason; deal with your strife internally.

Jesus gave us the model for this in Mathew 18:15-17:

”If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Even if you join with a group not using a Christian model, deal with your “stuff” internally. If someone wrongs you and refuses to make it right, there is mediation. If they break the law and we are living in a time where the rule of law stands, have them arrested. If we are WROL, take it to the leadership head and deal with it internally.

I hope I have been able to give you some things to consider and some resources to use to find others. If you have any, please add them to the comments.

 
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Comments

  1. This is a very good and timely article. I think and feel we are fast approaching the time when forming a group is needed. Most of us have our preps started and well on our way. We have the information needed and have started living the life of self sufficiency to some degree. But we all realize on our own we will not make it very far. Too much manpower required to have the muscle to resist intrusion.
    I like the idea of how to choose leaders. I think I read a novel about how the seniors of the group formed the jury for disputes and like. They where treated with honor in the group and their word was law. They weren’t the everyday leaders of the group, those positions where elected after the dust settled and the group started functioning.
    I also know it’s right when you say you have to get to know the people and it’s a good thing to do it online. I belong to a group on facebook that is by invitation only. They have broken our state down into 9 zones and each zone forms it’s own group. Having read what some of the people have posted in the zones makes me want to stay away from them. They want to get off topic and rant how the banks are in charge and how the banks cause 9-11 and so on. Or they just look for blame instead of solutions. Personally I don’t see any solutions to the problems facing our country. It would take a great reset of the common Americans thinking and heart to effect any meaningful change in time to save our country from collapse. Don’t see it happening. I’m praying it does.

  2. Rev. Dr. Michael E Harris says:

    I agree with Dan that this is a good and timely article. You brought up a few things that I had not considered.

    The leadership portion was informative.

    The Christian model you provided is why so many preachers I have listened to do not believe that anyone in the Church should every sue another Christian in a civil court.

    I checked out all the sites you linked. Some I have ruled out based on just the home page, but there were two that definitely deserve consideration. Meet Up was interesting, but I do not think that I am interested in the Bisexual Women’s group or the Transgendered Women’s group, but many of the other do have value to me.

    • I agree with you for sure. I wouldn’t feel comfortable at all in the Bisexual or Transgendered groups. But then those are the groups the government would recruit and put in power. That’s scary.
      It might be a good idea to keep track of groups like that and others who might just look for power over others instead of mutual support.

    • Chris Ray says:

      oh I agree, not all of the groups are for everyone. there is only one preparedness type group near me, and I can tell I wouldn’t fit in. But I’m a square peg kind of guy…

    • GatorGeek21 says:

      I am actually part of a meet up group here in Calgary. It is called Plan C. Meet up isn’t ideal but it is one more way to get people interested and talking. It has a pretty good core group and things are very relaxed. No one is required to be attached to anything they don’t want to be. Like all meet up groups you only join the things you want to. So if your aren’t interested in bisexuals or transgendered people you don’t have to be part of their group. Unless maybe they are into prepping too. Lol

      • Bradleyman says:

        Hello GatorGeek21, I live in the SW Saskatchewan area but I do get to Calgary about every 2 months and I’m also going to meet up with another like minded prepper there sometime in the future! Would you be interested in a meet up over a coffee sometime in the future?

  3. Bradleyman says:

    Very well thought out commentary on this topic, thanks for boiling it down! I especially love your consideration of the elderly woman who has such skills of the old ways. Her assets to the group would be priceless! And she could in all likeliness out work all of us in the gardening and preservation areas!

  4. Good article, Chris!

    Other ideas:
    -Permacuturists (automatically somewhat resilient and off-grid motivated in many cases) – local and online meet-up opportunities

    -CSAs and community gardens – Not necessarily a fallback location, but for learning and making some contacts, although they may be as space/land strapped as the looker

    -Private gun clubs (if you can get them to talk about anything but 2A restrictions and ease into it with local-concern preparedness, not prepping) – I have several ties through mine and some of them are more affordable than you’d think. Plus, an excellent way to see/learn differing tactics for self-defense and hunting, and try out different guns, depending on range type.

    -Hunting – Local F&W/DNR offices usually have low-cost classes, or may be able to tell you where people willing to teach are; waterfowl is expensive to get into, but it’s a good way to meet old timers, especially, since they’re eager to share their experiences and pass info along (for the most part).

    A lot of these are just avenues of interest that lend themselves to what in my experience seems like a greater percentage of people open to possibilities, either already exploring them, already established, or willing to hear them.
    They may offer a “group” eventually, or it may only be a way to share some of the ideas, learn a little more (never stop learning), and create a more resilient community on a broader scale.

    Some HAMs assist CERT, and local clubs and chapters may be of use especially in the most frequent calamities we face.
    Again, it’s a larger community and larger ties, and the conversation doesn’t have to start with the scarier of the two P words.

    That kind of thing holds true for any internet-capable or in-person interest — baking, canning/dehydrating, quilting, sewing, beeks, foraging, 100-mi diet types, herbalists, specific livestock keeping.

    Again, good, good points in the article, Chris!

  5. Excellent article on finding a group. In the last 6 mths, I’ve gotten to know a couple in our area who prep & an acquaitenance who preps. I’ve found one way to is to ask questions. Ask ur friends/neighbors what they’d do if a natural disaster (blizzard, tornado, etc) hit ur area. Ask what they think of the nat’l debt & if/how it’ll affect us in the future. You can talk about these w/out sharing ur preping.

  6. I’ve been trying to meet others through a couple of the websites you mentioned, but I’m 64 and my computer skills are just the basic stuff and I’ve had trouble trying to get on them. I’m wondering if you can help me find a few individuals or groups in my area that I could start looking into for helping me as I’m just a a beginner, I live in De Witt Iowa 52742 and I think there might be a place where a group might buy that has and start to get together to start out. It used to be the old county home and it had an area to raise cattle.

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