Light might bring someone to you, but it’s warmth that keeps them. When it comes to church in particular, people don’t just want great direction – as in teaching, a well run service, professional handouts, great songs – they want connection – the warmth of friends, family, shared interest, prayer groups, etc.

Consider your blog. It might be the light and great insights that gets them to read it at first, but it’s the warmth and sense of community that will have them stay. I would certainly say that any success that I have with building this blog is because I’ve provided warmth to those who regularly contribute here.

Providing warmth in business is much the same. It might start with a Christmas card, but it becomes about caring for your clients and thinking about how you can not only provide a great product (light), but the service and care that makes it work (warmth.)

Your Leading Thoughts

  • What is more valuable, being given a bike (light), or having someone teach you how to ride it, there with you to encourage you when you fall to literally get back on the bike (warmth)?
  • How do we scale direction (light) and connection (warmth)?

Archived Comments

  • Robin Dickinson


    We scale light by fuelling the torches of others.

    We scale warmth by fuelling the fires of others.

    i.e. we don’t scale either, others do.

    The question then becomes, ‘How do we help others to scale direction (light) and connection (warmth)?’


  • juliewalraven

    I missed coming to visit Scott, I always feel warmth when I come to your site. I feel like you are one of those that would help me get up when I fell down. I think we need to “connect” the two light and warmth. You are totally right that the warmth has to grow for a community to expand.

  • / Scott Gould


    You know how to bring it. Again, the emphasis on small groups here is critical, yes? I find warmth in smaller groups, and I also learn to provide it in smaller groups too.

    It’s the “go and do likewise” mantra.

    This would be applicable to church, to charities – to any form of community. However business wise, I don’t know if you can scale it this way, unless you want to again change the whole game with a few key thoughts!


  • / Scott Gould

    Julie so nice to hear from you :-)

    How have you seen this these scale and grow in communities?


  • Anonymous

    I like the way this thought is expressed. It’s more universal than community. If you buy a ‘shiny’ gadget it’s light. The functionality is warmth which stops it from being consigned to a drawer and turns you into an advocate. This might sound rather dry and cold, but when it comes down to it, warmth is about the functionality of a community: what it delivers to us in human value – the ‘stroking’ as some people describe it.

    The paradox is that warmth in a community cannot be ‘created’. You can’t turn it on like the central heating. Cults, with their ‘love bombing’, seem to do it to capture new recruits, but the underlying coercion is soon revealed.

    Warmth is about the expression of something that is already there. Sometimes we lack confidence in the value of our warmth and focus on light, because that seems to be more easily recognised (lighthouses, beacons). I can see where I’ve done that.

    Reading this post has made me realise that for me the transition this year has been one of movement from light to warmth. The light is still there, but it is not where the bulk of the energy is going.

    You can shine a light in an active way. Warmth radiates.

    If you push someone towards a fire they may panic. But give them the time and space, and they will be drawn to it.

    So, don’t think too hard about ‘manufacturing’ warmth. It is already there, and it comes from an internal process.

    It’s just a question of having the confidence to radiate at a longer, less flashy, wavelength.

    That’s what authenticity is about.

  • Anonymous

    “we don’t scale either, others do.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

  • Robin Dickinson

    Wonderfully expressed, Malcolm. :)

  • Anonymous

    Why, thank you. :-)

  • / Scott Gould


    As always, wonderful insights from you!

    You can’t create warmth like you can central heating. Hmmm. I agree that you don’t manufacture it – it must already exist – which comes down to a question about authenticity, as you point out.

    I would say, however, that is easy to be “warm” but not actually to deliver than warmth because you are distracted….

    Would you agree?


  • Anonymous

    “(It) is easy to be “warm” but not actually to deliver that warmth because you are distracted….”This is not the kind of warmth you have in the second law of thermodynamics where the warmth passes from the hotter body to the colder one. (For some reason my partner’s feet spring to mind.)You deliver milk and newspapers. You share warmth. The warmth is in the sharing.You could be emotionally present and share the fact that you are distracted (warmth for both parties) or distracted and emotionally absent (no warmth for either party).There are very few situations where there is no time to share warmth before dealing with the distraction. If you don’t connect, it is unlikely you are going to take any warmth away with you.What do you think?

  • / Scott Gould


    I can certainly say that I am a friendly person. I care about people and that drives what I do. But there are times when I am distracted and don’t share the warmth..


  • Anonymous


    Great thoughts on community in small groups. This “warmth” you describe is the make or break of blogs today. People are done with the shiny widgets Malcolm spoke of, they want real live caring folks to greet them when they stop by. Hoping to create this sense on a new blog launching soon. Thanks for the warm fuzzies.


  • / Scott Gould

    LOL – glad you feel warm and welcome.

    How do you think we can create it beyond “be nice”?


  • Anonymous

    I can’t speak for your internal experience, but that makes sense to me.

    There are values and aspirations, which drive activities like writing and organising that may result in later opportunities to share warmth – and there is sharing.

    I’m saying that the warmth is the sharing, not the values and aspirations or even the feeling inside that motivates the work.

    Doing something for someone is not sharing the warmth.

    For example, many relationships have foundered because one party has been preoccupied with doing things for the other person, the children or whatever. But this has gone unappreciated because person they are doing it for sees the activity as ‘something they like doing’ while feeling emotionally neglected themselves.

    Meanwhile, the person who is distracted by all the hard work he or she is doing for others also feels emotionally isolated, but feels this is a price that has to be paid.

    Result: two people competing for the victim position in the relationship, and each seeing the other as some kind of persecutor.

    If we had some t-shirts printed with, “I really am a warm person but temporarily distracted” do you think that would help others to feel better? :-)

    Which would be the better church: people gathered together in a field to pray, or one where people put off the praying until a proper church building had been constructed?

  • / Scott Gould


    You are totally right. This is what I’ve been wrestling with for the last months in particular and was seeing what you’re insights would be.

    If I’m not sharing warmth, because I’m trying to provide light, people will die of the cold…

    Take LIke Minds – I can’t be too busy for our community. It’s the classci thing – “I’m too busy building the community to spend time with people”….

    Thanks for speaking the truth.


  • Anonymous

    It’s only because I have worn the t-shirts myself – and still wear them too often…

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been learning from bloggers; part of the “being nice” is being engaging, useful and helpful. We’re back to the main point – creating value through valuing those we rub elbows with in this journey.