Tonight, we are reading Chapter 7 “Learning from Local Heroes” of Tim Sorens’s book, Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church Right Where You Are.
People not Projects:
Usually, whenever a church engages in community, we ask “What is wrong?” In doing so, we unintentionally label and define people by what they lack or what they need. p.104. We define our neighbors by their deficiencies that we can fill. Our focus is centered on ourselves and what we can be doing. We are simply looking for and engaging in projects.
Alternatively, Soren wants us to simply start with the people in our parish/community. Instead of focusing on needs and problems, what if we focused on the gifts and strengths of those in our community? What if we decide to look for assets and not needs? As Soren puts it, let’s focus “on what’s strong instead of what’s wrong.” p.105.
As he writes in Table 7.1, there is a fundamental difference between a needs-based approach and a gifts-based approach. Needs are problems to solve with programs and projects. Assets are people to engage and relationships to grow. In looking at assets, Soren wants us to grow. As Soren diagrams this growth, we move from a Core Team to other Christians (Same Team), to all Citizens (Local Team).
Soren ends this chapter with three very practical ways that we can engage in an asset-focused parish/community ministry. pp.107-09.
- Map Assets: We should be aware of what is happening in our community among the people, associations, businesses, nonprofits, and governing agencies. This information tells the Core Team who can learn from and perhaps join.
- Champion Heros: Soren asks “What if Christians in the neighborhood became known for naming the gifts, strengths, and hopes of others?” What if we as a church pointed out those doing the Spirit’s work within our community?
- Ask More Questions: As part of an asset-based approach, we should also be asking more questions than giving answers. This is a continuation of the sacred curiosity that Soren has been writing about throughout his book.
Scheduling Note – We are not meeting next week on October 10.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is arepas. Discussion about 6:45. Compline at 8. Hope to see you here.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”Matthew 5:14-16.