Tag Archives: Helping people out of poverty

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



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!

What is a Cause and What is Ours

An observation, most of my upcoming blogs come from lesson plans from our training therefore they are in bullet from. I hope that works for you

What is a Cause

  • It is something that catches our attention and excites us
  • It motivates one to accomplish what the cause spells out
  • It is a dream that causes us to action and involvement
  • It gives you reason to get out of bed and motivates you throughout the day
  • It comes in small pieces
  • It is seeing a need that resonated and then stepping forward to do something
  • And all of a sudden you realize what it is

How Do You Find The Cause God Has for You

  • Seek God for guidance
  • Look at what excites you and motivates you to do something
  • Look for opportunities to do things in order to see if it catches you
  • Help others work on their cause
  • See where God is doing things and become involved
  • Look at your skills and knowledge that involves life
  • There are no accidents therefore when something happens look for God’s guidance
  • Look back at our life and what excited you at different times in your life
  • Do things you normally don’t do. Be obedient when God puts something in your path
  • Look for others like yourself and observe what they are doing as well as joining them in their activities
  • Be willing to do on own even if no one else helped

NT’s Cause Statement

To see transformation in all areas of life, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and economic in individuals, neighborhoods and cities

Solution:  This is done by connecting people, creating sub communities within the neighborhood and then transforming the neighborhood. Then these transformed neighborhoods are connected to see their city transformed from the inside out.

What is your cause, what turns you on? Might it be Transformation? Are you willing to step forward in small steps to see if transformation is what turns you on?

Please leave a respond in the comments section concerning what your cause is?

If it is Transformation on individuals and neighborhoods please stay with us and we will give you opportunities to test this out where you are with the time, talent and resources you have.


Transformation Requires More Then Doing Things for People and Neighborhoods

For transformation to take place people and neighborhoods must decide they want something different then what they currently have. Then they must care enough that they are willing to do something about it to see the change take place. If that desire and action are not there then no matter what we do for others might be good but generally transformation does not take place. Transformation comes from inside people themselves and neighborhoods. 

But we as Western Christians are focused on doing things for others. People might say sure I would like that and gratefully accept whatever we do for them but does that transform them or their neighborhood? The answer is No.

There are three ways of helping people and neighborhoods

  • Relief Doing Things for People. Provides assistance without addressing long term needs nor using assets found in the people or neighborhood
  • Betterment or Mentoring Individuals to Change Things they Want Changed. Tend to create short term positive, caring beneficial environments and relationships that offer participants respite or positive experiences.
  • Transformation of Individuals and Neighborhoods That is Wholistic and is Sustainable It s focus on measured changes in knowledge, skills abilities or conditions of the participants that  when combined together sees their neighborhood transformed from the inside

An Approach that Fosters Transformation  

  • It is a people-oriented, relationship building process.
  • It is designed to identify assets within the neighborhood found in individuals, associations and institutions, and identifies which of those assets they are willing to share.
  • Once the assets are identified, you begin to link the people you have been building relationships with, to the assets that would empower them.
  • It is based on neighbors helping neighbors, not being dependent on professionals to do things for them.
  • It is designed to build up internal and external abilities.
  • It is designed to be sustainable.
  • It is primarily a grass-root, bottom-up process which requires a person to act as a catalyst and facilitator.
  • It is a gradual learning process progressing from the simple to the more complex and from the known to the unknown.
  • It works primarily with individuals and households and then impacts the neighborhood as a whole.
  • It is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • It requires a moral and ethical focus for relationships to grow, which results from establishing trust.
  • These ethical values are based on absolutes that do not change, but are the same year-after-year. This is based on God’s Word, the Bible.

Why It important to Look for Transformation

  • so we can see how God is working and to what degree and in what areas of individual and neighborhood life.
  • It  allows room for God to act.
  • To better manage programs
  • Motivation for leaders of transformation, committee members and people doing the work.
  • Helps committee supervise the workers and direct the project.
  • Is motivation for all stakeholders and neighborhood people.
  • Demonstrates accountability
  • Evaluate progress of different elements in the program.
  • Others can see the validity of the program.
  • To satisfy donor/investor requirements
  • To raise public awareness of the issues being addressed
  • To find areas where transformation is not taking place.
  • Identifies needs and interests in the neighborhood which are not being met.
  • To demonstrate effectiveness of the program.
  • It informs others of good practices that could be used elsewhere.
  • Helps looking for outside resources as the reports validity requests

Questions that Might be Asked So That We Can Look for Transformation

  • What would the neighborhood look like where people lived the Golden Rule?
  • What would the neighborhood look like where everyone could read?
  • What would the neighborhood look like if every student graduated high-school?
  • What would the neighborhood look like in regard to crime, abuse, and violence?
  • What would the neighborhood look like if every orphan had a mentor?
  • What would the neighborhood look like if the weak were empowered?
  • What would the neighborhood look like if God’s Kingdom were operative?

Examples of Improved Ways to Do things For Others

I will be writing several blogs on examples of activities that build peoples self esteem or move them forward to beginning to do things for themselves through the coaching of others.

Christmas Gift Store
Many churches use an Angel Tree approach for Christmas gifts for poor children. But instead of doing it that way they cam up with a different version then above of a Christmas Store, Churches members still bought gifts for kids but they are delivered as an unwrapped gifts to a location in the neighborhood where the poor came to choose Christmas gifts for their kids. The prices are set at about 10% of retail value so the prices are low. The store is someplace in the neighborhood, in a church in the neighborhood or in the elementary school

The parent picks gifts they think their child would like and takes it home to wrap it and give it to their child at Christmas. Sometimes instead of paying cash a person agrees to work in the store for say two hours for each gift. Therefore even if the parent has no funds they can choose, wrap and deliver gifts to their kids. Imagine the difference in how a parent feels by being able to be the giver of that gift to their child

Back Pack Give A Way
A church in Colorado donates backpacks full of supplies at the beginning of the year for families who cannot afford them. This year, the school Family Resource Center set up a “Time and Talent” program for these backpacks. Every family that accepted a backpack agreed to give two hours of their time back to school in some form of volunteer work. Schools know that if they can get a parent to the school for a positive experience the learning and attention of their child improves. As of January, 100% of the parents had completed this commitment. Parents dignity and feelings of self worth is strengthened as they have been able to provide for their child’s school supply needs instead of being dependent on others.

Those Served Become Servers at a Church Soup Kitchen
New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church is located in Over the Rhine, a community just outside downtown Cincinnati. New Prospect serves a mostly African-American population in a neighborhood that has been left behind. Many of Cincinnati’s homeless live in Over the Rhine, and for many years New Prospect has attended to their nutritional needs through a soup kitchen in the church basement. Several years ago, a group of ministers and lay leaders in the New Prospect congregation decided to re¬examine the church’s relationship with the people it was “serving” in its soup kitchen.

The congregation designed a “Gift Interview,” of assets to explore the unknown talents of the people coming to the soup kitchen. They asked questions about the gifts and abilities people were born with; they asked about skills and the things people liked to do. They also asked about dreams and provided an opportunity for each person to express what they would do if they “could snap their fingers and be doing anything.”

What they found astonished them: here were carpenters, plumbers, artists, musicians, teachers, and caregivers, all coming to the soup kitchen at New Prospect. Here were gifted and talented people, people with dreams, and people with things to contribute. As the interviews proceeded, the people being fed blossomed as they realized they had something to contribute. As the pastor said, “Folks were telling us, ‘We don’t want to stay over here on the receiving side of the table. We’re not just recipients. We want to cross over to your side of the table, the blessing side of the table. We want to cook and serve, too. We want to belong by contributing.”‘

More and more, the original soup kitchen recipients served the food and those who had once been servers, accepted the role of recipient. They received food and sat at the tables developing relationships with those they ate with. When everyone involved in the soup kitchen could function as a server and a recipient of the gift of food, the power once associated with being the server disappeared and real reciprocal relationships began to blossom.

What We Have Learned from Churches, Part 1

In the last two years we have learned many things about attracting North American churches to Neighborhood Transformation (NT) and facilitating implementation. This has allowed us to make a number of changes in our approach. This will be a two part series. The following is some of what we have learned:

Churches most interested in NT fall into three categories:
1) Churches which are large inter-denominational or Bible churches that have been trying to have impact by doing things for people and yet have seen no transformation. They are ready to try a new approach but need the opportunity to try things in small bites, gaining confidence as they see things work effectively.
2) Organic, neighborhood based churches that are small and multiplying and yet are tentative about NT because of the mistaken belief that it is an “all or nothing” blueprint approach.
3) Wholistic, neighborhood-focused missional churches that are leery of anything that looks like a program.

Recognizing our target churches has led us to underlying changes making it as easy as possible for churches to become involved in NT with the least amount of commitment. They can participate at the level they are willing to start. In addition, it is important to clearly communicate that NT is not a blueprint approach but something that the organic churches can work with in bite sized pieces.

Catalyzing Churches
• The best way to find interested churches is still by word of mouth. Then a five-hour Envisioning Seminar is done to introduce them to NT.
• In a city such as Phoenix where an intermediary organization exists, four-hour Saturday morning seminars are held once a quarter. Topics are selected based on churches’ interest. Currently we have over 14 such seminars such as:
o Neighborhood Organizing
o Identifying assets.
o Reaching neighborhoods through helping them to recognize their history and develop a plan to reach their goals.
• Lead churches to identify a champion who will attend a full NT Training of Trainers (TOT).
• Assist the champion in holding a 14 hour TOT to train local trainers/coaches

Training of the Champion/Master Trainer
It is critical that there be a Master Trainer in each church who can, in turn, train and coach local trainers.
Doing the full NT TOT has not generally been productive in a city unless you have multiple churches that send their champions to be trained.

Change summary:
• Set up NT TOTs, regionally located, where these champions from different cities of the region can be trained in 5 day, complete NT TOTs.
• If multiple, committed churches exist in one city, offer two, 14 hour weekend trainings either back to back or a month or two apart.

Training Local Trainers
Our initial schedule of six Saturday Trainings of Local Trainers over a 24 month period was too heavy a commitment for a newly involved church. There is a need to make it easier for churches recruit local trainers at the level people are willing to participate.

Change summary:
• Instead of six Saturday trainings, do one 12 hour, weekend training for local trainers, set up as a Thursday and Friday Night of 3 hours each and a 6 to 8 hour all day Saturday session. Further training is then not required. This weekend training introduces the NT approach, how to choose and enter a community with an introduction to Asset Mapping. This training allows participants to not only get started but will likely give them enough to do for the next 15 to 18 months.
• NT has developed 12 to 14 modules, of 4 to 6 hours duration each, on topics that are of interest to the local training team. The team chooses the appropriate topics at the appropriate time. These blocks are taught by the champion (the city or church Master Trainer).

Finding People in the Local Churches Who Will be Local Trainers
Church attenders fall into four levels:

• Group 1: People who only want to be ministered to but do little outside the church’s four walls.
• Group 2, doing level: People who are willing to do a one time event outside the church’s walls that requires little time or commitment, generally a group activity requiring no relationship building.
• Group 3, relationship level: People who are willing to make mid level time commitment and develop relationships with others outside the church’s walls.
• Group 4, ownership level: People who are willing to take the lead in serving outside their four walls and become owners of what is happening.

In our experience the people who rise as Local Trainers are primarily from Group 4 with a few from Group three.

Change summary:
• First realize that people fall into these four groups and will only be involved in the level they feel comfortable in. They need to be given opportunities that they can immediately participate in at their level.
• The church needs to put in place an approach that offers opportunities for its members to serve outside the church’ s walls in ways appropriate to each of the three levels. We have developed a four-lesson module that helps the church establish such an approach.

See more next time