10 Benefits of ABCD in Spring, TX

Dec 18, 2015 7:08:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is an approach to community transformation in which those who work for community change do so by working with local leaders rather than delivering services to them or for them. I first learned about this approach while leading a city movement in Muncie, IN in the early 1990’s. Simply defined, ABCD is a way to find and mobilize resources a community already has. This approach is central to transforming communities and became an important part of my DMin at Bakke Graduate University in Transformational Leadership in the Global City. At the end of this post is a 4 minute video of Rev. Andy Sytsma explaining ABCD principles.

Asset Based Community DevelopmentAsset Based Community Development is always rooted in a local community and draws on the assets within the community. In this way local knowledge, understanding, gifting and calling is strengthened, so that people are empowered and the community is strengthened. Below is the story of how ABCD principles are being applied through the Old Town Spring Heights Task Force in Spring, TX.

Rev. Andy Sytsma is the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Spring, TX, a city of 53,000 about 30 miles north of Houston. The older part of Spring grew up along the railroad that still runs through town. The newer portions of this fast growing small city are much more upscale than the older portions of town.

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Topics: Community Transformation, Featured Video, Collective Impact, Community Development

David Brooks, Social Conservatives and City Transformation

Jul 8, 2015 7:02:00 AM 0 COMMENTS

Last week, David Brooks wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times (June 30, 2015) titled, The Next Culture War. In his column, Brooks advocated for the kind of work that Christian leaders are quietly engaged with in cities all over America.

City Transformation Coach Glenn BarthBrooks' focus was on the decline in Christianity in the United States, the smaller share of Evangelicals in the U.S. electorate, and the recent Supreme Court decision supporting gay marriage. He took the opportunity to advocate a significant shift for social conservatives to make from the front lines of the current culture wars to offering collaborative service, social and spiritual capital in their cities and communities.  

As Americans, Christians are often conflicted when deeply held moral and ethical positions are overridden by elections and/or court decisions. However, being an American and being a Christian represent two very different identities. Recent decisions on public policies should help Christians understand their cultural context and live counter-culturally.

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Topics: Centered Set, Recommended Books, Collective Impact, Community Development, Job Creation, cross sector city movements

Two Emerging Generation Leaders Transforming Communities

Apr 18, 2014 10:27:58 AM 0 COMMENTS

Alexis Christensen and Ryn Farmer both received their Masters in Social Work from Baylor University in 2012. That year they both went to work for the Waco Community Development Corporation as Community Organizers. Ryn works in the neighborhoods of East Waco and Alexis works in North Waco.
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Topics: Community Transformation, Featured Video, city partnerships, Community Development, Church and Public Schools, Emerging Leaders

The Arts, Job Creation, and Community Transformation in Italy

Apr 16, 2014 9:51:10 PM 0 COMMENTS

Tonight on All Things Considered, a story that demonstrates how Christians involved in the arts in the second, third, and fourth centuries were brought together with impoverished youth by The Arts and Community Transformationa visionary priest to restore both the artistic creations and prosperity of this younger generation. Christopher Livesay in his story, "Under the Streets of Naples, A Way Out for Local Kids", reports on how Don Antonio Loffredo arrived in the rough and tumble Sanita neighborhood of Naples ten years ago and "...found three levels of frescoes, chapels, and cubicles beneath the neighborhood's trash-strewn streets."

Don Loffredo began to engage the youth in their teens to help him clean out these early Christian catacombs and reveal the artistic treasures within. In the process, the youth created a thriving business that today employs forty. "Before the the full-scale makeover, roughly 5,000 visitors came per year. Now it's up to 40,000."

This is a prime example of how community transformation occurs through asset based community development. This is the missional church at its best. The outcomes in work like this move the social indicators and create good cities.The 5 minute story of community transformation combines an appreciation for the arts and job creation. Click here to listen to this compelling story.

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Community Development, Emerging Leaders, Job Creation

North Minneapolis Partnership Uses Collective Impact Approach for Jobs

Mar 21, 2014 5:10:38 PM 3 COMMENTS

Collective Impact for community Transformation

Last week I visited with Rev. Richard Coleman, who serves as the Executive Director for Hope United CDC in North Minneapolis (featured in short video below). Rev. Coleman helped form the Northside Community Response Team (NCRT),  a coalition of the leaders of 60 nonprofit organizations and philanthropists who came together shortly after a tornado ripped through North Minneapolis on May 22, 2011. The NCRT mobilized thousands of volunteers to clear debris and help residents. In addition they received and distributed over $677,000 to assist the area and its residents in its recovery.

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Topics: Featured Video, city partnerships, Centered Set, Collective Impact, Community Development

Entrepreneurship and City Transformation

Mar 17, 2014 1:50:34 PM 0 COMMENTS

When Jeremiah wrote his letter to the Jewish exiles in Babylon, he urged them to make their new city their home (Jeremiah 29:4-7). He wrote that they should:CIMG2792

  1. Build houses and live in them.
  2. Plant gardens and eat their produce.
  3. Get married and have children and encourage your children to do the same.
  4. Seek the shalom of the city and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity you also will prosper.

This message was for a people who were forced to relocate against their will in the land of their enemy. Yet it is here that Jeremiah calls upon them to "seek the shalom of the city and pray to the Lord on its behalf..."

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Topics: Community Transformation, Featured Video, Community Development

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