The Social Justice Committee is hosting an Asset-Based Community Development training this Saturday (February 25th) from 1pm to 3pm in the Sanctuary Building. Come learn how the Fellowship can be a better neighbor by designing projects that build on our local community’s existing strengths.
Asset-Based Community Development (or ABCD for short) is a powerful and inclusive approach to working with and within a community by focusing our efforts on discovering and mobilizing the resources that are already present. When people become more productive together, they exercise their power to address their problems and realize their dreams! As such, ABCD involves:
- finding assets and gifts, learning to look at people and neighborhoods as “half-full”, and discerning the personal gifts and collective assets within;
- uncovering what people care about enough to act, looking at how to engage in listening and learning conversations that reveal dreams and concerns that motivate people toward action;
- distinguishing roles, people and programs — individuals, grassroots associations, agencies and institutions each have strengths and weaknesses, so we discover what they are and strive to balancing the best elements;
- leading by stepping back, helping organizations, churches and agencies to lead from a posture of humility, empowering others toward their own solutions, ideas and projects;
- mobilizing groups to action – what’s next after discovering common interests and how do we create opportunities to work together?
ABCD considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local residents, the power of associations and the supportive functions of local institutions, ABCD draws upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future. ABCD is particularly useful for churches and congregations that are seeking more effective forms of community outreach and social transformation. Are we doing ministry in, for or with our neighborhood? Which would you like to see our Fellowship doing?
- When a church is in a community, all activities are by the members, for the members. Neighbors experience little or no benefit to having this church in their neighborhood.
- When a church is for a community, the congregation wants to meet its neighbors. In addition to activities that benefit members, the congregations dreams of ways to connect with people beyond its walls. This church makes decisions, designs and implements activities for the community.
- When a church is with a community, the congregation has conversations with its neighbors, discovering what they care about. In addition to activities that benefit members and reach out to non-members, this church joins its neighbors in their agenda for community development. In this neighborhood, they work together for the common good.
ABCD training is offered by Jim Moynihan, Founder and President of OneChurch, a non-profit ecumenical ministry, and a Member of the Communities First Association. He is passionate about effectively serving the needs of neighborhoods while training them to use their own assets to help themselves. The purpose is to transform neighborhoods by equipping the whole church to engage its community and, in partnership with its neighbors, develop a better community.
So please join us, this Saturday afternoon, from 1pm to 3pm in the Sanctuary Building, for this Asset-Based Community Development training!