Tag Archives: neighborhood

An Improved Way to Start Transforming a Place

It is critical that we start with what the people in the starting group (which can be a church or non-profit) feel comfortable in doing and are willing to do. They are the ones that are going to be entering the neighborhood and beginning to learn about the community. This is before we have done any asset surveys in the neighborhood to find out the neighborhood people’s skills, knowledge and passion and what they want to see different in their place. That means starting with very small pieces of their time, with things that are easy to do and requiring no continuing commitment.
In many churches, their members never get outside of the church’s four walls to reach out to nearby neighborhood people. The key is to get everyone in the game at the level they are willing to participate. This means we should:
  • Provide regular easy-entry opportunities that give people the chance to change the world. What if everyone in your church at year-end had a story to tell how he or she changed the world? Awesome!
  • Combine opportunity with inclination. Giving motivating sermons is one thing but people need the immediate opportunity to become involved, to put what they heard into action now.
  • Make it personal by people inviting their friends to join them in this specific, one time opportunity. Use the words “Do this with me.” There are three I’s necessary to attracting and asking volunteers
    • Identify specific people who would do a great job in this activity.
    • Inform them personally what they can be doing, in specific terms, if they join you.
    • Invest by giving people a chance to try out something with no strings attached before they make any greater commitment.
  • Begin with the willing. It is important to realize that not everyone is willing. Work with the early enthusiasts who are willing to get involved. Let them then tell their stories and others will come along.
This means we must give people the opportunity to do things in which they feel comfortable.
One way to do that is look at people fitting into three different groups.
  • Doing for Others: Some feel comfortable doing things for people.
  • Coaching and Empowering: Others feel comfortable developing relationships and helping people to change their lives in areas that the person wants to change.
  • Multiplying Ministry: Others desire those changed people to become multipliers by equipping them to equip others who equip others who equip others, which spreads what is happening exponentially II Tim 2:2

Another way is by accessing what type of person they are:

  • A Belong Person: You love to get people together for a BBQ or a party. You like being on the front porch with neighbors. You enjoy helping people find a place where they can relax and be themselves.
  • A Grow Person: You love to help people go deeper in their faith and relationship with Christ. Opportunities like a Bible study or discussing spiritual growth are what get you energized.
  • A Serve Person: You love to mobilize people to be the hands and feet of Jesus. You ‘d rather get sweaty mowing someone else’s lawn than get cozy in a small group discussion. You are looking for ways to help and get others to help
Both ways are similar but slightly different. Our main way of encouraging people to get involved in Transformation A Place in the past was for them to get to know their neighbors by walking around and talking to them as they see them, which is scary for many people.
Also we have suggested that a person hold a spontaneous barbecue in their driveway or yard. Both of those relate to people who are belonging types of people or people who are very relational or an empowering person, which is a similar type. That leaves out the other way of getting people involved.
We have been very aggressive in Neighborhood Transformation in encouraging groups to become involved in their local elementary school. This is a way to get different people to walk their own 2-3 blocks together, via the school where they can begin to minister on a broader neighborhood scale.   But this is further along in the steps for a Neighborhood Transformation.
We need to begin Transforming a Place  after they have chosen the neighborhood they will minister in, they begin to bless their Elementary School. This is done by asking by the Principle how can they bless their school and then do whatever they are asked to do. This allows people who love to serve or do things for others to participate. It is felt that working in a school is safer then walking in a neighborhood. It requires no commitment on the part of the person unless they want to get involved at a deeper level, such as developing relationships with kids, which many see as easier then developing relationships with adults.
We highly recommend that you find out where the different people are who will start Neighborhood Transformation and then give them a variety of multiple, regular opportunities with different levels to participate in where they are. This means opportunities for those who develop relationships by walking around and other opportunities for people who do things by blessing the school.
GIVE IT A TRY

More on Prayer Walking

I am trying something new in my blog. I look forward to your reaction.
Prayer Walk your Neighborhood and Pray for the things that you see.
 Prayer Walk your neighborhood and pray for things you see.

As you see things, pray for what you see both good and bad.

Learn about your neighborhood by walking through it and talking to people as you see them.

Learn about your neighborhood by walking through it and talking to people as you see them. As you see things pray for what you see both good and bad. Ask God to open your eyes to what he sees when he is looking at this place.

Prayer walking is central to what we do in Neighborhood Transformation. It gets us into the neighborhood and begins to open us up to view the place through God’s eyes, not your our own. As you walk you pray for what you see.
As you know Helping communities out of poverty and people to maturity in Christ is our cause. www.neighborhoodtransformation.net
 What do you think?

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.

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.

Stan

Getting Started in Your Churches Neighborhood

Happy New Year. I am blogging again and have laid out 17 different blog posting which I will post twice a month, here on my Urban CHE Guy Blog at https://urbancheguy.wordpress.com/  If I keep on track this will take us with a different blog every two weeks through September 2014.

This is a series of blogs which will start with a couple of core values that are behind what we do in Neighborhood Transformation which I realize I have posted before. Then we will begin a series of blogs on different elements in a Neighborhood Transformation program in a neighborhood and how to go about implementing Neighborhood Transformation in your neighborhood.

The Topics Will Include:

  • Blog 1  Introduction to Series on Getting Started
  • Blog 2  What is Wholistic Mission
  • Blog 3  What is Transformation
  • Blog 4  What is Poverty
  • Blog 5  Why a City
  • Blog 6 Urban Poor Neighborhood
  • Blog 7  Learning about Suburbs
  • Blog 8  Observations About Urban Churches and Why they should Minister in their Neighborhood
  • Blog 9  How an Urban Church can Get Started
  • Blog 10 Knowing Your Neighbor
  • Blog 11 How to Know Your Neighbor
  • Blog12  Prayer Walking
  • Blog 13  How to Gather Information in Your Neighborhood
  • Blog 14  Drawing a Map of Your Neighborhood
  • Blog 15  Using the Information
  • Blog 16  Identifying and Using Assets
  • Blog 17  Focusing on the Elementary School as Way to Draw People Together

In reality this will introduce you to topics we cover in a Weekend Training of Trainers BUT without the group interaction which is very important.

We hope to see three results from these Blogs:

  1. You register to receive this blog automatically
  2. As you read each blog you Ask yourself the Question, How does this apply in what I am doing in my ministry. Once you think of a way to apply the idea or example you put it into action
  3. You actually chose a neighborhood where you live or you church is located and begin applying what you are learning in real life.

Neighborhood Transformation has people around the USA that can help you get started by holding a weekend Training of Trainers, Thursday and Friday nights 6 to 9 PM and all day Saturday. This is a 13 hour series. They are also available to visit you to answer specific questions based on your situation and to mentor you as you begin to start Neighborhood Transformation in your place.

I can be reached at stan@neighborhoodtransformation.net  and our Collaborative for Neighborhood Webpage can be found at http://www.neighborhoodtransformation.net

What Wholistic Means

Let’s talk about wholistic and what it means to us. 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.

Dela Adadevoh who was my director in Africa and who I spoke of last week wrote another book The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person  speaks about the Wholism from a Biblical basis.

Dela says the Gospel is a redemption and restoration story; it is restoration to a blessed spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and material state. He goes on to list the Characteristics found in the Garden of Eden which include; goodness, beauty, order, purpose satisfaction and intimacy with God.  The phrase “Kingdom of God” is used frequently to explain God’s plan for the nations and people of Jesus Christ.  Knowledge and will are not enough to make people holy and spiritual.

The ultimate impact of the Gospel is the Hebrew concept of Shalom which is peace with God meaning there is no longer separation between man and God. The Gospel gives us the promise of entering God’s rest’ physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. Shalom also means we can now live in peace with the rest of creation. The blessing we leave as missionaries is the blessing of peace

The call to witness for God is not limited in its focus to individuals, God also expects communities and nations to be His witness. The Great Commission is a call to make disciples of all nations, not just make disciples in all nations. Making disciples of all nations is not only making individual disciples but also disciples of communities to ensure they build themselves on Godly principles. God’s blessings are wholistic and primarily seek to bring the people of a nation relationally closer to God.

Dela ends his book by saying ‘Christ honored transformation of society must begin with the church. A transforming Church is an effective agency in the hands of God for transforming society’

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 agencies 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 also means you also have to use the KISS, Keep It Short and Simple, principle when helping people. 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.

Biblical Perspective to Transformation

This past week I read with great interest Dela Adadevoh’s new book “Personal Life Transformation” in a Biblical Perspective 2013, International Leadership Foundation, Orlando FL. Dela was my supervisor as Africa Director of Affairs in 1988 when we were on staff with Campus Crusade in Nairobi and developing CHE. Currently Dela is the Global VP for Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) and founded the International Leadership Foundation in 2004 which he serves as president today. The ideas presented are taken from his book as they fully represent where we are coming from in Transformation.

Dela says right belief does not automatically lead to transformed lives and right actions. Right actions do not necessarily lead to transformed minds, values and lives. There needs to be intentionality in developing life values and principles from beliefs. People have to be helped not only to believe the right things but also to know how the truth relates to real life issues.

Central to transformation is our worldview, that is how we unconsciously view the world around us. Dela says a world view change is a sustained commitment to looking at our world from another frame of reference with a new set of values.

Worldviews are formed by a unique inter-relationship between conceptual categories which Dela identifies as God, truth, authority, power, success, love forgiveness and service. The key question is the transformation process is What is Truth? A person’s worldview informs their beliefs, values and behavior. Our worldview is the aggregate of our various conceptual understandings and how they inter-relate with one another

To experience biblical transformation one has to believe in, God is Creator, God is a perfect person, The characteristics and revealed will of God are absolutes, the Bible as the Word of God, Jesus Christ is the perfect human , Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Jesus Christ as the Savior and the spirit of God as the agent of transformation.

Transformation must be motivated by intrinsic factors striking at the core of one’s beliefs and outlook on life. This causes a radical change of one’s outlook on life consequently ones values in life which affect our behavior.

For full transformation people need a personal relationship with Christ. They are living like Jesus in the contemporary world and leading like Jesus does through Servant Leadership which empower people to be more then they have dreamt they could be. The goal of transforming a person’s worldview, must have at its heart the restoration of humans into the image of God as they become good stewards of God’s creation.

Dela goes onto say Interdependence is the objective of God in everything that he calls us to do. To me this is the factor tying a neighborhood together so their neighborhood can be redeemed and restored.

Transformed lives are validated by transformed system, structure and situation, Transformed leaders must translate their new outlooks and values into new decisions and policies that will result in new institutions and societies.

One of the identified challenges in transformation is the disconnect between the private and public lives of people. The transformation process begins with personal life transformation that should lead to transforming relationships which should lead to institutional or organizational transformation. The process for transformation should increasingly approximate the life of Christ.

No person, nor society can be fully transformed as that will only come when Christ returns. But we can continually think about, plan for, equip and look for transformation taking place in this life. Transformational impact in society increases numbers of transforming people and leaders.