Reggie McNeal Joins GoodCities

Jul 19, 2017 5:52:47 PM 0 COMMENTS


GoodCities is pleased to welcome Reggie McNeal as City Coach. He joins Glenn Barth who continues to serve as President. Through GoodCities, Reggie and Glenn offer leadership development through the City Impact Accelerator, City Convene, and City Coach. To welcome Reggie, email him at [email protected] To connect about leadership development email [email protected].

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Collective Impact, Church Unity, cross sector city movements, City Transformation

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

City Transformation through Christian Unity in Houston

Jul 31, 2015 4:36:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

Marilyn Lee has an MBA. She has all the skills a growing business would want. She has chosen to work with one of the world's largest enterprises, the church. She is investing her time in the work of the whole church taking the whole gospel to all of Houston through Loving Houston, a Christian nonprofit focused transforming Houston by helping churches serve local public schools. In the video below, Marilyn tells her story and how she has learned to follow Jesus' example of meeting people's real and felt needs and calling them to follow Him.

This 13 minute story was a part of GoodCities' City Convene Conference in Houston, TX in April, 2015. Our next City Convene Conference will be held in Cincinnati on September 21-22. Click the button below for registration information.

City Convene

Click on the image to start the video.

City Transformation through Christian Unity


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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, Collective Impact, Church Unity

City Transformation as A Platform

Mar 12, 2015 7:01:42 PM 0 COMMENTS

City Transformation as a Platform
In our recent GoodCities Leadership Gathering in Phoenix, Eric Swanson introduced a creative approach when he gave a 20 minute presentation titled "City Transformation as a Platform" (his full presentation is available at the end of this post). His belief is that the real power of a decentralized network in a city is found in the many ways that people live out their callings and yet, unify under a city transformation vision.
Swanson notes that people will find their place within a common vision if it serves their own self interest. He distinguishes between self interest and selfish interests by stating that self interest is a belief from those involved that they will get more out of being involved with the movement than through non-involvement. Selfish interest is a viewpoint that only engages because of a self-promoting ulterior motive (i.e. a sales rep who gets involved in a volunteer organization to make sales instead of to accomplish the goals of the volunteer organization.)
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Topics: Community Transformation, Featured Video, city partnerships, Job Creation, cross sector city movements

City Transformation through Faith at Work

Nov 7, 2014 4:03:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

Chuck Proudfit and the Origins of At Work on Purpose in Cincinnati

This five minute overview was recorded at our recent City Advance Conference in New York City. There is much we can learn from the stages of development of At Work On Purpose of Cincinnati. What Chuck talks

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Topics: Stages of City Transformation, Community Transformation, Featured Video, city partnerships

For Houston's Kids: Beyond Church and Public School Partnerships

Jul 21, 2014 1:00:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

Steve Capper (pictured below and featured in a 2:40 minute video below) is a GoodCities Community Leadership Coach and serves as the Executive Director of For Houston's Kids. He will be a contributing blogger for our blog site. This article introduces the missional thrust of how this unique collaboration between people of faith and people of good will works together for the good of Houston's children. For Houston's Kids goes beyond church and public school partnerships by forming unlikely partnerships to accomplish their goals.

In 2004, a healing of many in the Church of Houston who were blind began.  Like the story told in Mark 8, the restoration of sight was both partially immediate and largely progressive. This miracle followed a simple question, a group conversation, and a massive investigation in search of an accurate picture of our city’s condition.

     Dave Peterson, then the Senior Pastor of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, had attended a one-day conference featuring a stirring story of one man’s efforts to replace isolation and hopelessness among Baltimore’s inner city youth with caring mentors and a path to a hopeful future. 

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Topics: Community Transformation, Featured Video, city partnerships, Centered Set, Church and Public Schools

Over 100 Gospel Movements in England

Jun 5, 2014 10:41:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

On April 30 and May 1, I was a speaker at the Gather Global Conference in London at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity founded by John Stott. My presentation was on the expansion of Christian city movements internationally. What interested me, however, was what I was hearing in the many presentations from gospel movement leaders involved with purposeful church unity movements in cities and communities throughout England.


The opening report came from Roger Sutton (in photo at the right), the leader of Gather UK, who hails from Manchester and works with the Evangelical Alliance. He told of the growth of Christian unity movements in England to the point where there are over 100 such movements today including over 20 in London.

There has been keen interest in these movements since the economic crash of 2008 and the British government's decision to institute austerity measures rather than expand their currency as we have done in the U.S. The austerity plan meant that the British welfare system would be cut back substantially. For instance, the city government of Manchester has announced a second straight year of £80 million cuts.

At the same time, local church leaders have boldly stepped

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Topics: Community Transformation, city partnerships, Church Unity, International City Movement Stories

City Transformation Begins with Personal Transformation

May 28, 2014 10:57:35 AM 0 COMMENTS

Personal Transformation to City Transformation

Christian unity for the purpose of serving among the poor and city transformation is reviving the church and awakening people to the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. Personal transformation is at the heart of shaping good cities and it is the good news of Jesus Christ that transforms the hearts of persons. God's calling is central to gospel movements and church leadership.

Earlier this month, I was in London for the Gather Global Conference. Graham Hutchinson and I met in preparation for an interview he would be be conducting with me on stage. Graham is the founder and leader of One Voice York, a weekly pastors' prayer gathering that has been meeting for the past 15 years in York. He also serves as the pastor of Elim Pentecostal Church. However, before he engaged in either of these leadership roles, Graham was a successful chef who one day had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ and from that moment forward, he hasbeen living life with vision, hope, faith, and purpose. Most of all, I found Graham to be a man who exudes the love and light of Jesus Christ. Here's a six minute video in which he shares his story.

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, Church Unity

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

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

Community Leadership With a Focus on Neighborhoods

Mar 6, 2014 10:33:44 AM 0 COMMENTS

Geography is important within cities. People have a sense of place attached to their identity. It is never just a general sense of place as in "I'm from Cleveland."I may say this to someone I have just met, but the truth of the matter is that I am from Bay Village, a third ring western suburb of Cleveland with a 5 mile shoreline on the southern shore of Lake Erie. When I say that I am from Bay Village, I mean that I grew up there through the first 21 years of my life. My memories of this place and the people I knew there shaped my identity in powerful ways.Community Transformation through NET

Today, I'm from the Twin Cities. I have lived here for 20 years. During that time I have lived in the same house in a second ring southwestern suburb, Eden Prairie. As an adult, my life and my identity have been developed in a far more intentional way through my marriage to Kathy, my choice of vocation, my interaction with my children, my neighbors, my church, and the leaders of the communities I choose to interact with here in the Twin Cities.

I serve as a community leadership coach to cities. One of the cities where I am currently working is Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Topics: Exploration, Community Transformation, Featured Video

City Transformation through the Workplace: At Work on Purpose

Mar 3, 2014 3:44:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

On Saturday, March 1, I spoke at Cincinnati's At Work On Purpose, Marketplace Mobilization 2014 Conference. Horizon Church was packed with over 700 leaders from all sectors and channels of influence. This ministry has grown over the past 10 years from a handful of marketplace leaders to over 6500 involved today who are each growing deeper in ways that they live out their calling at wCity Transformation AWOP 2014 Confernceork. This is a replicable model that brings leaders together for city transformation. A kit has been developed for other cities to put together a similar model in their own city. It can be ordered using the contact form at

Cities become good cities as people learn to live out their callings at work, home, and in places they server. CEO and Founder gives a quick overview in this short video.


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Topics: Community Transformation, Featured Video, city partnerships, Collective Impact

Evangelicals and Catholics Practice Christian Unity in Phoenix

Mar 2, 2014 8:04:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

I recently spent two days with Evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders in Phoenix to explore ways that Evangelicals and Catholics could express their oneness in Christ for the good of their city.  Mateo Calisi, President of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Communities and Fellowships, and his friend Giovanni Traettino, Leader of the Christian Community of Caserta came to Phoenix from Italy at the invitation of Joseph Tosini (see 3 minute video below.)

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, Church Unity

Transforming Communities through Unity, Betrayal, Brokeness, and Grace

Jan 13, 2014 9:18:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

Last week, I visited with Gary Kinnaman during my visit to Phoenix, AZ as a part of preparing for our GoodCities Leadership Gathering February 18-20 at Christ's Church in the Valley. Gary and I stayed up late one evening talking about how ministry is often painful even when it is going well. 

At one point, Gary said, "I've never been persecuted by a Muslim, an Atheist, a Mormon (I live in a largely Mormon community), but I have had lots of pain in the church." Immediately I knew that Gary and I had walked a similar path as a pastors and leaders. If we're honest with ourselves, we each know that the leadership journey involves betrayal and brokeness. (Video clip of Gary Kinnaman on next page).

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, city partnerships

Unlikely Partnerships: Churches and Public Schools

Jan 10, 2014 6:23:00 PM 1 COMMENTS

In the last year, church and public school partnerships have really taken off in cities all over the U.S. With the creation of the documentary Undivided ( that tells the story of the five year old partnership between Southlake Church and Roosevelt High School in Portland, OR, both churches and underperforming public schools seem to have caught the bug. 

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, city partnerships

City Transformation in the UK through Church Unity

Jan 9, 2014 9:48:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

Gather is the name of a church unity movement in the UK led by my friend, Roger Sutton. He recently said, "We have just entered the post secular age." God has quietly been bringing Christians together in unity in the UK over the last 10 years and until Roger began to look for these leadership groups in cities, each one thought they were unique.

Roger was sent out by the Evangelical Alliance to look and see what God was doing in cities throughout Great Britain. So far, in every city he has explored, he has found a church unity movement praying for and serving the people of their city. (3 minute video of Roger Sutton further down in article.)

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, city partnerships

Thirty Arctic Lanterns Honor Community Transformation Leaders

Dec 31, 2013 11:12:00 PM 2 COMMENTS

Tonight I will light thirty arctic ice lanterns that line our property in honor of those whose lives are brightening our world by working for and, at times, suffering for peace, justice, and good will to all. In short they are doing the work of community transformation and creating good cities. In the Community Transformation, City TransformationSermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” His words speak to our capacity for good.

The people on this year’s list are not the names of famous people. The mostly quiet nature of their work does not catch the eye of the media, yet their lights shine brightly as they shape our world. Jesus went on to say, “...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds glorify your Father in heaven.”
Here’s the list:
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Topics: Community Transformation

City Transformation through a Movement of Movements Approach

Dec 13, 2013 11:50:02 AM 0 COMMENTS

City movements in large cities with large numbers of Christians present unique challenges for leaders of city movements. The church is usually highly decentralized with many different approaches to ministry and worship. Each congregation and ministry are autonomous in pursuing their respective missions. One of the exciting developments in our time is that many of these groups are coming together for synergistic efforts that will impact key areas that help leaders of cities address needs and move toward a strategic vision.

On the first Friday of each month I meet with a cohort of international leaders on the Global Urban Leaders Conference Call. It is an hour filled with stories of what works in the field

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, city partnerships, Collective Impact

Building the Unity of the Church with Sam Williams

Nov 21, 2013 4:36:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, Definitions, city partnerships

The Five Streams of Unity Movements

Nov 21, 2013 4:35:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, Definitions, city partnerships

What is City Transformation?

Nov 21, 2013 4:28:00 PM 0 COMMENTS





In this video, Eric Swanson, Sam Williams and I talk about cities and city transformation looking at Biblical, practical, and historic indicators.

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Topics: Stages of City Transformation, Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, city partnerships

Collaboration and Leadership is Key According to Federal Reserve Bank Study

Nov 21, 2013 9:38:00 AM 0 COMMENTS

2013-11-20_Boston_Federal_Reserve Collaboration and LeadershipNew York Times Columnist, Thomas Friedman recently wrote, “Now we have record productivity, wealth and innovation, yet median incomes are falling, inequality is rising, and high unemployment remains persistent.”In the new economy, there is global competition for jobs and innovative technologies are replacing positions in manufacturing and in the professional ranks as well.

The Federal Reserve, Collaborative Leadership and Jer. 29:7

In the midst of all this change, we are called to “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7

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Topics: Community Transformation, city partnerships, Centered Set

The Key Role of Service with Eric Swanson

Nov 19, 2013 2:41:57 PM 0 COMMENTS

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, Definitions, city partnerships

Building Unlikely Partnerships with Sam Williams

Nov 19, 2013 2:35:57 PM 0 COMMENTS

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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, city partnerships, Centered Set

Identifying the Right Kind of Leaders

Nov 19, 2013 2:15:59 PM 0 COMMENTS

When looking for the kind of leaders needed to lead a local city movement, here are some key characteristics to look for.
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Topics: Community Transformation, Church Leadership, Featured Video, Definitions, city partnerships

Desired Outcomes with Glenn Barth and Eric Swanson

Nov 19, 2013 2:08:51 PM 0 COMMENTS

Glenn Barth of GoodCities and Eric Swanson of Leadership Network discuss desired outcomes and impact in cities.
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Topics: Community Transformation, Featured Video, Definitions, city partnerships

Six Stages of City Transformation video

Nov 5, 2013 4:43:00 PM 0 COMMENTS

Here's a short video produced by that describes the six stages of city transformation and how exploration took place in Modesto, CA.

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Topics: Stages of City Transformation, Exploration, Community Transformation, Church Leadership

Download eBook: "Multiply Volunteers and Resources"

This short eBook introduces a powerful tool used effectively in five cities to engage leaders and their networks in serving their cities. It will help you, too! 


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Download Slides From Eric Swanson's City Transformation as a Platform


Download Slides From Eric Swanson's City Transformation as a Platform

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