Tag Archives: relationships

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

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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.

A Great Way to Start to Get to Know Your Neighbors

Efforts to rebuild the neighborhoods are hampered by the fact that new residents moving in, whether tenants or homeowners, do not know each other and have no knowledge of past revitalization efforts. “Many work two or three jobs to get by,” notes Nelson Butten, “and others work and go to school. They have no time to meet their neighbors.” Often no structure remains within the neighborhood to foster their involvement. The social fabric of communities, already damaged by foreclosures, is further frayed when people lack the time and opportunity to build relationships. Yet without a shared vision of what they like and what needs to be changed, residents will have a difficult time rebuilding neighborhoods hurt by the foreclosure crisis.

If you think about it, hospitality may be the most ancient and universal of community-building strategies. Throughout time and in all cultures, it has been recognized that there is no greater act of compassion and fellowship than to welcome others to share your shelter and food.

Given the isolation and fear that tends to keep neighbors from neighbors, this is perhaps more true today than it has been for many years. Food sets the mood in a NeighborCircle by saying, ‘not only are you welcome in my home, you are someone with whom I would like to break bread.’ For those who love to cook and entertain, the NeighborCircle provides a great oppor¬tunity to display talent and creativity. Many of our hosts have created elabo¬rate meals for Circle guests, but simple meals or quality take-out have worked just as well. Preparing and serving the food for the Circle should not be a stressful event, so unless the

They begin with a resident volunteering to host a NeighborCircle in his or her own home. Over the course of a month a group of 8 to 10 families will come together at the host’s home three times for dinner and conversation. The meetings are assisted by one or two facilitators trained by Lawrence Community Works.

At the first meeting, residents simply get to know each other over a meal provided by the host. They talk about the different places they have lived in their lifetime and put a pin on the map as they talk about these places. The strategy acknowledges that personal relationships are foundational to efforts to build community. In Lawrence’s diverse neighborhoods, racial, ethnic and economic differences act as barriers between residents, so a special effort must be made to create a safe place where they can come together. The facilitator may ask questions related to where they lived.

At the second meeting participants discuss what they like about their neighborhood and what they want to see changed. They begin by brainstorming ideas and issues and must emerge from the meeting with one or two things they want to work on. They meet a third time to develop strategies to address the priorities agreed to in the second meeting. The 2nd and 3rd meetings are what NT teaches as part of mobilizing a neighborhood. Some NeighborCircles continue getting together after their first three meetings in order to work through their issues. Others do not.

The facilitators are a key component of the NeighborCircles’ success. They are typically volunteers who receive a small stipend for their assistance. The facilitators receive training on facilitation techniques as well as in the NeighborCircle model. Use of volunteers means that many more NeighborCircles can be organized than Lawrence CommunityWorks staff could do on their own. The facilitators also gain valuable skills that they can use elsewhere, either in their Jobs or in other volunteer interests.

More on Knowing Your Neighbor

What better time to talk about relationships then during this Christmas Season when our Reedemer was born.

First lets Review Whats Needed to Build Good Relationships
** Respect for each other.
** Spend time together.
** Can have open and honest conversations with each other.
** Are able to talk about things that are important to both.
** Enjoy doing things together.
** Pray together.
** Have a strong friendship.
** Listen to each other.
** Look out for the needs of the other person.
** Good communication between you.
** Do not expect too much of the other, thus avoiding frustration or hurt.
** Have borders. This happens where love is not stifling, but there is room for freedom and respect for privacy.
** Are able to confront, but with love and gentlenesstherefore you can say “No”. Sometimes you’re not available for the other.
** Willing to forgive.
** Share trust and transparency.

Its easier to develop relationships with others when you have something in common such as live in the same neighborhood or your kids go to the same school BUT lets see

What Can Be Done to Get Started in an Unfamiliar Neighborhood
** Gather a group of 4-6 people who are willing to go into an unfamiliar neighborhood.
** They should do so weekly.
** Start with picking up trash each week.
** Love on people.
** Greet people on the street and knock on doors.
** Ask how they can be helped and when something is suggested do it.
** The team may bring some small, useful gifts to the homes.
** Do fun activities with people in the neighborhood.
** Outsiders become insiders by loving people.

Central to everything done is to begin to know and build relationships with people you are meeting.

Reaching Out to the Larger Neighborhood How to Unite Individuals to Begin Reaching the Larger Neighborhood
** While still walking your block, someone should contact the elementary school to ask how the church members living in the neighborhood can bless the school.
** (See elementary school lesson)
** All of the neighbors should see the elementary school area as the neighborhood they would like to see wholistically transformed.
** Hold outreach days as a large group to reach the elementary schools.
** Gather together the larger neighborhood to talk about its history.
** Gather people to talk about their individual dreams for their neighborhood. Build a consensus around four or five dreams that best fit the neighborhood. Then delegate when they will be done and who will complete them.

We pray that these two blogs have started you thinking about how to build relationships in your neighborhood. May you have a Blessed Christmas and an ever expanding network of relationships in your neighborhood.
Stan Urban CHE Guy

What Learned from Churches, Part Two

Reaching not only Urban Poor Neighborhoods But also Middle Class Neighborhoods

Getting church members to work in urban poor neighborhoods makes it harder to raise up local trainers. The churches focus more easily on nearby neighborhoods which most frequently are middle class. Doing projects in the church’s neighborhood makes it easier to motivate the members. However, when working in middle-class neighborhoods, the church members are asked to focus on enhancing assets rather than supplying needs since middle-class neighbors are likely to be of the opinion that they have few needs.

Jesus’ loving concern extends just as surely into middle and upper class neighborhoods. He cares for all. Poverty is more than physical and financial lack. Emotional and spiritual poverty are crippling. There is no place that cannot use the reconciliation and touch of Jesus.

Change Summary:
• Focus the church on its own extended neighborhood with the intent of establishing relationships with and being a blessing to those neighbors.
• Get to know the neighbors. Begin walking the neighborhood regularly, greeting and meeting people.
• See “Starting Outreach in the Neighborhood” below.

Relationships – The Starting Point
Relationships are critical in rural CHE programs but even more so urban neighborhood settings. Very few people know each others names, let alone anything about each other. Trust and willingness to help are very limited. Neighbors are isolated from each other partially out of choice, partially from lack of opportunity. What is more, they feel powerless to overcome the isolation.

Motivating people in church to reach out to the neighborhood where they live is a challenge which few churches have considered since the concept of transforming a middle-class neighborhood is a novel one. Building relationships – neighbors knowing neighbors – is the place to start.

Change Summary:
• Recognize that this approach can work in a variety of ways with the result that neighbors become aware of and learn to trust the neighboring church down the street.
• First the church needs to map all church members and define neighborhoods around groups of people who live near to each other.
• Have a desert meeting for all the church people in a given neighborhood, challenging them to get to know their neighbors
• For next step see Starting Outreach in Your Neighborhood below

Starting Outreach in the Neighborhood
Because most people do not know their neighbors, the first step is getting to know their neighbors in their block on both sides of the street.

Here are some key ways to accomplish this:
• Start walking your neighborhood and greet people when you see them, introducing yourself. Learn their names and what house they live in. Make notes later.
• When you see people outside, go greet them.
• Start barbequing on the driveway in front of your house and invite a few nearby to come.
• Invite all the people to come to a neighborhood barbeque. If they offer to bring something, let them but don’t assign things.
• Do block a party, closing off street on the “Local Night Out” which many cities have.
• Ask two questions: ” What do you like about this block?” and “What one thing would you change?”
• If there is an elderly family on the street or a family in need , organize people who are willing to help them.
• As you do these activities learn as much as you can about each person, sharing details about yourself as well.
• Eventually do full Asset Mapping

Starting with the Local Elementary School
Many churches have approached the problem of becoming known in the neighborhood by beginning NT through the local elementary school. This is especially effective in areas where most of the children walk to school.

Here are approaches to the schools which have been effective:
• Set up a meeting with the school principal asking how the neighborhood church members can serve the school. With budget cut backs most principals are willing to accept some help.
• Normally it can start with a school grounds beautification or painting a room. This kind of project allows Group 2 level church members to participate.
• It could involve supplying backpacks at start of the year. If so this it is great opportunity to ask that a parent help in the school once for 2 hours. Principals have found that if a parent comes to school there is an immediate increase in attention span in their child. Therefore, just getting the parents into the school is a positive.
• If Christmas gifts are provided for needy children put them in a school Christmas store where parents choose the gift they want for their child and pay some small amount. If the parents do not have the cash they can substitute a couple of hours as a volunteer in the store.
• Find out if the schools need volunteers to help and then provide members from Group 3 to come to help as volunteers.
• Some churches have done a “Love the Teacher Day” where they provide small gifts for them and perhaps a Starbuck coffee card.
• At some point send the nine-question Asset Mapping Questionnaire home with students. The class with most number of returned questionnaires wins a pizza party. In addition, the children who return their questionnaires get into a drawing for a nice gift.
• In the questionnaire look for what parents want to learn and set up different short classes at the schools taught by neighborhood people of local trainers from the church.

Hope this gives you some idea how to get started doing Neighborhood Transformation. Ways that are simpler and easier to get church members involved.