Tag Archives: Empowerment

Developing Relationships

 Why People Need Relationships with Others

In the beginning, God created Eve, not only to help Adam, but to share his life. God put this need inside him. God created us to have a relationship with Him, so much so that He wants us to have relationships with each other. A relationship is the process of give and take; we need to give as much as we need to take. Though people differ in their characters and cultures, they still share common characteristics that enable them to build relationships with one another. Though people differ in their characters and cultures, they still share common characteristics that enable them to build relationships with one another. If you are facing difficult situations, or going on a hard journey, you will not feel the suffering as much if you have good company.

How People can Develop Good Relationships with Each Other

So they know and respect each other. For this to happen we must spend time together therefore proximity to each other is important so see each other regularly and spontaneously. We need to have Open and honest conversations with each other. We need to talk about things that are important to both of us. We should enjoy doing things and times together. We should pray with each other.

The key is develop a strong friendship where we listen to each other. There is good back and forth communication. We need to look out for the needs of each other. We should not expect too much of the other, thus avoiding frustration or hurt. There needs to be Borders- where love is not stifling, but there is room for freedom and respect for privacy. We need to be able to confront each other with love and gentleness. You can say no , as we are not always available all the time. There must be trust and transparency with the ability to forgive each other.

Why Relationships are so Critical to Neighborhood Transformation

Relationships are central to Neighborhood Transformation, because without relationships will never get started or succeed. NT is neighborhood based therefore built on neighbor knowing neighbor and have some relationship with each other. We define real community” being all about relationships. Nothing happens in NT without relationships. People must first know each other to develop relationships and if they are going to help their neighbor they need some level of relationship. People only help each other when there is some kind of relationship. A strong Network of people working together only comes through relationships.

Challenge:
Think about the game tic-tac-toe  with your house in the central spot and there are 8 neighbors surrounding you. I challenge you to begin to develop relationships with as many of those eight neighbors as you can. Even if it is only one or two.
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CITY REACHING REQUIRES PARADIGM SHIFTS

To transform a city there must be a total Paradigm shift in the way we go about it. I am taking highlights from a paper “Ten Paradigm Shifts” which became part of his book To Transformation a City By Eric Swanson. We in CNT totally agree with his 10 paradigm shifts.

1) From building walls to building bridges. “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13,14). The first paradigm shift pertains to where we, as the church, see ourselves in relation to our communities. Will we remain outside of the community inviting people in or will we go to our communities, seeking to be a transforming agent? The church is called to be separate in lifestyle but never called to be isolated from the people it seeks to influence.

2) From measuring attendance to measuring impact. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast…mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough” (Matthew 13:33). In a post-modern world most people are neither impressed with the size of a church or its commitment to “truth.”  In this century, the greatest apologetic for the reality of Jesus Christ living in a community will be observational more than propositional. To have a faith that can be observed is to be living out the truths we want others to grasp and the life of the Savior we want them to know.

3) From encouraging the saints to attend the service to equipping the saints for works of service. “It is (God) who gave some to be…pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service…” (Ephesians 4:11,12) In the typical church, lay people are asked to serve in several: capacities ie; Teach a Sunday School class, Work in the nursery, lead a home Bible study or small group, or  Sing in the choir

Little wonder pastors lament that only 20% of their members are “active. Could it be that the service opportunities are not broad enough to engage the energies and passions of people in the church?  Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City writes that the process of mobilizing members into ministers “starts by articulating clearly and regularly a theology of ‘every-member ministry’…

4) From “serve us” to service—from inward to outward focus. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give…” (Mark 10:45).  The church is irrelevant to most people. Take away service and you take away the church’s power, influence, and evangelistic effectiveness. The power of the gospel is combining the life-changing message with selfless service.

Erwin McManus of Mosaic Church in East Los Angeles says that the single biggest factor in his church retaining people is not personal follow-up or joining a small group; it is being involved from the very beginning in service to others in the community. When members have told him that they want the church to meet their needs his reply is “You ARE the church and together we are called to meet the needs of the world.”  We grow and are healed as we serve others.

5) From duplication of human services and ministries to partnering with existing services and ministries. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Nearly every community has a number of human service agencies that are morally positive and spiritually neutral that are doing their best to meet the needs of the underserved and under-resourced people of the community. Rather than starting a new ministry, why not form partnerships with existing groups as “partner ministries” of a local congregation?

6) From fellowship to functional unity. There is a strong case to suggest that there is really only one church in a city or community (made up of all believers) that meets in several congregations around the city. In Philippians 2:2 Paul implored, “…make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Only unity of purpose around the vision of a transformed community is strong enough to unite pastors and churches of different denominations. Uniting the church around a common goal is preferable to trying to unite the church around a cooperative project.  It works because we love each other, we trust each other and we hold each other accountable,” says Fresno pastor Paul Binyon.

7) From condemning the city to blessing the city and praying for it. Jeremiah 29 begins by saying; “This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem…to those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” What follows are instructions on how to live as aliens in a foreign land. Listen to his admonition: “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (v. 7)

For too long we as the church have positioned ourselves as adversaries to our communities. Maybe it is time we began blessing the city by blessing those who have given themselves to the city! Perhaps the next great reconciliation movement will be between the church and the community.

8) From being a minister in a congregation to being a minister in a parish.As Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it…” (Luke 19:41). A congregation is made up of people who attend a local church from a community. The minister typically feels that this congregation is his flock whom he must baptize, marry and bury. They consume his time and energy. Being in a parish is different. A parish differs from a congregation in that it is a geographical scope of concern and responsibility.  Being in a parish gives one the God-given right to minister to anyone in the community, whether they are part of one’s congregation or not. Urban theologian,

9) From anecdote and speculation to valid information. Two pieces of information changed the course of Nehemiah’s life that resulted in the transformation of a community. In Nehemiah 1, His burden to transform the city came from accurate information. We too need correct information about the real needs of our community as well as the resources we have to meet these needs.

10) From teacher to learner.Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…” (James 1:19). It is interesting to note that for the historic African-American churches, the concept of holistic ministry is not a new concept. They have never suffered from trying to split effective evangelism from social justice or meeting the needs of those around them. It’s how they’ve always done church.

Ministry of Presence

Ours is a culture that places emphasis on ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’. In fact, if we are not doing something, we are wasting time and resources–and perhaps we are also seen as being lazy. Mission turns our North American ideal of ‘doing’ on its head. When we enter other cultures, it is more important for the people to see us, get to know us, and to be known by us; this is the essence of a ministry of presence. Rather than coming with the intention of implementing program after program, missioners who engage in a ministry of presence spend time with and listening to the people, empowering them to believe in themselves, to identify their solutions, and to value their own opinions.

Being present involves letting go of our constant preoccupations, immersing ourselves in the here and now, and giving ourselves wholeheartedly to whatever is at hand. … It’s about becoming more aware, alert, awake to the fullness of the immediate moment.

If we are with another person, it means engaging with him or her with all of our heart, our mind, our soul, and our strength. Such wholehearted attention requires patience, time, and disciplined effort. And it is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to those around us, especially our suffering neighbor.

“Developing a Presence” in the neighborhood. We discovered just how fundamental the question of posture is to incarnational presence in the neighborhood. Here’s some of our takeaways. It involves

A.) Enters a space out of one’s own needs. We come to be “with” the people in our context. Think of how different the dynamics (to use a suburban example) are when a new parent joins a parents group in need of a place to share the loneliness/ tediousness of caring for a new born child versus a church that sets up a day care center,

B.) We come out of a “mutual” relationship sharing in what God is doing,

C.) We do not come into a context as “volunteers” offering a few hours a week. Instead, the hours we spend with people, working for justice, come from places we inhabit regularly as part of our everyday life. We hope to spend years together living life in the Kingdom,

D.) We become conduits of God’s work, pointing out what God is already doing, or where there are already resources right here to help. We therefore never run out of gas. We are truly energized. Of course we will offer our own resources not as a solution but because we are friends, part of this social reality God is bringing into being.

The Difference Between “Project” versus “Presence”

Often a church seeks to engage the community by “looking for the Next Project.” We seek a “need” in the community where we can help, bring resources and the love of Christ. What can happen though with this mentality is we

A.) Come to the project out of a posture of “pretending not to need.” We come with resources from a distance, not listening to the lives of people very well. We come out of a posture of power, control.

B.) We thereby unintentionally make the people/issue we are helping into a client/object. These dynamics work against the Kingdom.

C.) We often turn this into a volunteer effort/program where we contribute a few hours a week and it is separated from our everyday lives.

D.) Since it is mainly “us” doing something, this approach eventually leads to church burnout. It leads to a continual diet of “projects” and we never get to developing a “presence.”

When “looking for the Next Project” churches will often look for places of need in the local context. But that need will be seen through our eyes. We might even create a project or a program. When “Developing a Presence” we seek to understand “need” and the dynamics surrounding that need from the eyes of those we are “with.” We look from within for what is happening. We look for assets found in individuals and informal groups in the neighborhood. We ask a lot of questions, spend hours/days/weeks/years listening. We in essence then attempt to hop on to something already in motion. Development follows justice relationly.

Let us hear your input on this blog because ministry of presence is central to what we do in Neighborhood Transformation.

An Important Week in Neighborhood Transformation’s Life

Greetings to all. Something different in this Blog.

This week has three very important things happenings in Neighborhood Transformation’s life. A tremendous amount of time and energy has gone into making this a reality.

First we have gone live on a totally new web site which has been five months in the making. You can view it at www.neighborhoodtransformation.net  The site can now be viewed on mobile units. We have tried for less content and focusing on new people not familiar with Neighborhood Transformation. Our old web site was really focused on people who were trying to or implementing Neighborhood Transformation.

There are ways people can get involved wherever they live and at whatever position they are in. Check out the different ways you can Act, Learn or Give at http://www.neighborhoodtransformation.net/involved.php. Why not think about becoming involved today?

Second, we have finally created a 1-1/2 minute introductory video introducing Neighborhood Transformation. If you go to   http://www.neighborhoodtransformation.net/videos.php  and look at the top left hand video, ‘Transformation and You’, to view it.  What do you Think?

Third we are doing our first fund raising for Neighborhood Transformation. This is a 60 day campaign with three major letters spread over 60 days with three follow up messages in between that will tell you how things are going and share a short video. The campaign goes from Sept 15th through Nov 15th.

We have a fantastic donor who is matching every gift given up to $20,000 therefore by giving during the campaign you can double the money you give.

The focus of the campaign is to raise funds to start Neighborhood Transformation in 10 new cities across the USA. Please check out the campaign  http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs172/1102302026903/archive/1118395884692.html   Would you consider providing a gift for NT? You can do that on-line.

One thing we have found critical to get Neighborhood Transformation started in a new city and then to do the necessary coaching of churches who are trying to implement Neighborhood Transformation is a key person in the city who works with churches and non-profits there.

Such a person does not need to move overseas to become a missionary but can stay where they are and keep their job. Or if they want to go part or full time by becoming a Neighborhood Transformation Catalyst we can help you set up a non-profit coming under our umbrella 501c3 so you can raise funds for your non-profit or your personal support or expenses!  INTERESTED?? Contact stan@neighborhoodtransformation.net  to explore possibilities

Pray with me that all of these initiatives will have impact in seeing people being transformed in a wholistic way and these people will come together to transform their neighborhood from the inside out. Then as multiple neighborhood are seeing success, they join into a collation to transform their city.

Stan Rowland

CONNECT NEIGHBORS, CREATE COMMUNITY,                                           TRANSFORM NEIGHBORHOODS

What is Wholistic Ministry

I just attended a 3 day conference here in Phoenix, International Wholistic Mission Conference where 700 people came to talk about what was happening in wholistic ministry. Fantastic conference, you should plan to attend next year in 2015. It will be April 29th through May 1.

Let’s talk about wholistic and what it means to us in the Global CHE Network and in Neighborhood Transformation.  It is all about bringing the whole gospel to help people become whole who working together create a whole neighborhood, which then brings about a a whole city and then a whole nation being transformed in all areas of life.

It is both the Great Commission and Great and the great Command together, it is not one or the other. Or I do one so that I can do the other.

We spell wholistic with a ‘W’ because it keeps ever in front of us the idea that we need to deal with the whole person, all aspects of their life, and the whole community or neighborhood, meaning all sectors in that place.

Some people and the Webster Dictionary spell it without the W and give it a spiritual meaning from holy. We agree with that BUT feel it is more important to concentrate on the whole, not just on the spiritual or holy aspect.

When we talk wholistically about a person’s life, we are dealing with all aspects: physical or health well-being, spiritual well-being, emotional well-being, and social well-being. When we do this, we are dealing with more than the different sectors such as education, job, medical, etc.

In working in a community or neighborhood, we are looking into the above areas as well, but the different sectors found in a community come more into play. Therefore, when we talk about community, sometimes we will use the term sectors, and when dealing with the individual, we talk more in terms of physical, spiritual, emotional and social aspects.

Just concentrating on one area of life, such as just working with a person’s health or getting them a job, helps them in one way, but there needs to be assistance in multiple areas of life for real transformation to take place.

Let’s look at another aspect of being wholistic. Sometimes groups talk about being wholistic when they have different people deal with the different sectors or areas in a person’s or community’s life. But to us that is not wholistic. That is parallel track ministry, but all elements rarely come to play in a person or community. Instead, what needs to happen is that multiple elements must come into play in order to see transformation. The people working in their own track are specialists and generally only concentrate on their specialty

I use the illustration: Have you ever look down a straight line of railroad tracks? The tracks start out being in parallel but far down the line they seem to converge. However, as you walk down the tracks you see that they never do. This is what happens when we have specialists working on their track. They hope that all the people working together will bring convergence. But this does not happen.

For us to see wholistic transformation, all areas and sectors of life in individuals and a community must be done by one person who is looking for wholistic transformation to take place. This means we want to help people (in CHE or NT) to be generalists not specialists.

This means what is shared must be transferable to a person can share it with another who can share it with another, onward. To accomplish this you have to keep things simple and basic. We use the KISS principle, Keep It Short and Simple. In other words, we must decide what is the most important thing another person needs to understand, and forget sharing many of the “what-ifs”—the things people might need to know in the future or things that might be nice to know but others would never use.

So remember, it is best when we have generalists who deal with multiple areas in a community’s or person’s life, and who keep it simple. In another blog I will share with you how this is accomplished through our participatory teaching approach.

I am off to South Africa Sunday May 4th for two weeks to do a a five  day Training of Trainers  on Neighborhood Transformation, which we call overseas Urban CHE. The Healthcare Christian Fellowship equips medical professionals how to share their faith in the workplace is moving to incorporating NT and CHE into their 100 chapters around the world.

Neighborhood Transformation Core Values

It is important to have a set of Core Values that are the underpinning of what we do. Below are the Core Values that drive Neighborhood Transformation

Integration and Wholism: We are committed to complete obedience to all that Jesus commanded, including both compassion for the people’s physical needs as well as evangelism and discipleship. Our programs seek the total development of the whole person and community.

Relationships: In urban settings people no longer know their neighbors. To implement change, both individually and as a group, people need to know each other so they can work together. We have many tools to help people get to know their neighbors.

Commitment to the Poor and Marginalized: Jesus came to preach good news to the poor. As His ambassadors, we are committed to them, affirm their worth, call them to be children of God through faith in Christ, and seek to release them from brokenness and despair.

Never Do for Others What They Can Do for Themselves When we do things for others that they can do for themselves we take away their dignity, making them dependent upon others. In addition it cannot be reproduced or sustained

Long-Term Solutions: We concentrate our efforts on long-term solutions that break the cycle of poverty and disease. We train, equip, and empower people to do for themselves, focusing on development rather than relief. We seek to empower people to do things for themselves and become connected to their community, which has been reshaped by their actions.

Local Ownership and Initiative: Sustainable programs are owned by the individuals and built on local initiative. Ownership and initiative are demonstrated through volunteerism and strengthened through capacity building. We take time in communities to listen to and participate with people in assessing their needs, identifying resources, and assisting them in organizing for action through training and consultation.

Strength Based Approach:We focus on the strengths found in the people and groups in the neighborhoods, which is built on what people have instead of what they don’t have. Equipping people to identify assets and interests of people and then connecting them around their interests accomplish this. We then work with them to look at the history of their neighborhood, their individual visions for the neighborhood and then form a consensus of what changes they want in their neighborhood.

Reproducible Tools:This approach has been created in over 3,000 lesson plans for urban settings, to be used by lay people to share with their neighbors through group dynamics and peer learning. The lessons are grouped into workshops of 4-6 hours duration, which are aimed for, and to be used by, local people.

Participatory Learning: We believe people must be active participants in their own learning and development. Therefore, we use methods for adult learning that engage participants in a process of reflection and action. We also believe people learn by doing and that modeling is essential.

 Multiplication and Movements:  Our aim is not merely projects, but movements. This is facilitated by training people to train others using concepts that are transferable. We emphasize the use of local resources and appropriate technologies so that solutions can be passed along neighbor to neighbor. We build cooperation and vision at a community level. We work collaboratively with faith- and community-based organizations, local and international relief and development agencies, churches and missions, as well as governments to facilitate the transformation of communities and nations.

Christian Servant Leadership:  Jesus is our model. We seek to imitate him in humility and love. Jesus taught that the greatest in the kingdom is the servant of all. Every leader in our organization is Christian, and each one a servant. We seek to model servant leadership in our organization and programs and raise up leaders in every community who give sacrificially to serve the needs of the people.

Hope this gives you a better understanding of where we are coming from.

Stan the Urban CHE Guy

Involvement in a Cause

It is important that people find a cause that they resonate with and then get involved at the level of their interest and amount of time they are willing to give. People are involved in different activities based upon their interest in a cause.

  • The first level is Expose where people are testing the water to see what the cause is all about and if it matches their interest
  • The second level is Engagement where they have tested the waters and there seems to be a fit and people want to become more involved
  • The third level is Own which their interest and the cause are in sync and the person knows they want to be involved.

This process can be likened to a funnel

EEO Funnel 1 

Below are ways in which show ways that people can become involved in transforming a neighborhood in each of the three levels. The A indicates activity while L indicates Learn

Expose/Entry Level

Walk in the neighborhood with others, gathering information through senses (A)
Go to neighborhood meeting with someone else (A)
Help prepare for an event (A)
Participate in an event in the neighborhood with others (A)
Introduce NT to church or friends(A)
Do prayer walking in neighborhood with others (A)
Go along with some doing Asset Mapping (A)
Provide administrative help occasionally  remotely or face to face(A)
Create interest in your area of influence to learn more about NT  and to hold an initial training (A)
Input data to set up database for asset responses (A)
Provide needed materials or funds for an event. (A)
Read books about cause from Reading List (L)
Small Group Introduction to NT Principals (L)
Learn about Discipline of Love and create possible list (L)
See movie Bless Child at Home and debrief as group (L)
                                                                          Engagement Level
Learn why and how to do Asset Mapping (L)
Do Asset Mapping in neighborhood with neighborhood activities (A)
Begin to talk about NT to others informally (A)
Help organize and do an activity or event in the neighborhood (A)
Spend time on their own in the neighborhood (A).
Be involved in organizing a NT training with church & or friends
Input regularly asset responses into database and manipulate it looking for patterns (A)
Teach a small group in the neighborhood something they know well and feel comfortable in (A&L)
Participate in Neighborhood Association meetings (A)
Start Neighborhood Transformation training (L)
Apply Disciplines of Love with chosen individuals (A)
Small group six session study (L)
                                                                  Own Level
Continue training and start applying what is learned in the target neighborhood (L&A)
Do Asset Mapping door to door, bringing new people with you (A)
Become part of the facilitation team and begin to do ministry in the neighborhood. (L&A)
Lead small group trainings around the groups interests even if new to the facilitator (L&A)
Train potential new workers in segmented training (L&A)
Make presentations on NT to explain what NT is and elicit  people becoming part of NT (A)
Regularly support NT financially (A)
Invite new people to join you as you do some of your activities in the neighborhood. (A)

Look around and decide how you can become involved in transforming a neighborhood, then do something. Don’t just look and wish, make it happen. Get started today!