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This week I’m producing the Sunday to Sunday. Belinda is away for a few days for her father’s funeral. Please continue to support and uplift in your prayers, Belinda’s mum, Alison, and Belinda, Aron and the whole family.

As the theme for this week’s Sunday to Sunday, I’ve chosen to provide some of the background to the Listening, Learning and Listing Series. I hope it will help people understand something more of the process and our next steps. I also continue to invite your prayers for us as a church as we explore how we connect with our wider community.

Gracea and Peace

Identifying and working from our strengths….

During my years of ministry, I have worked in or with several church and/or community development agencies/boards. I have also worked with several churches as they seek to connect with their wider community.
Following on from our Listening, Learning, Listing Series I’d like to share some of the background to my approach.
A widely acknowledged and celebrated approach to community development is the ‘Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) model. I find the following definitions of what it is and what it isn’t most helpful, especially in a church context:
“Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) is a globally adopted approach that recognises and builds on the strengths, gifts, talents and resources of individuals and communities to create strong, inclusive and sustainable communities” [1]
“ABCD emerged as a critique of deficit-based approaches. The deficit approach focuses on the problems, needs and deficiencies in a community. It designs services to fill the gaps and fix the problems. As a result, a community can feel disempowered and dependent; people can become passive recipients of expensive services rather than active agents in their own and their families’ lives”.[1]
As I said in a recent report to the diaconate:
  • So far, my approach has mainly been based (as appropriate) on the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) model[1]. It is a strengths-based model. The diagram below may be helpful, just replace the word ‘neighbourhood’ with ‘church’.
  • I am also more and more interested in the Community Development Framework[2]. The framework has been developed by an indigenous body, and contains a very strong relational and consultative emphasis, which seem highly appropriate in our church context.  
As with all such models, they must be made contextual for our particular situation and circumstance. Being a church has its unique blessings and challenges. Tools such as these can prove to be highly valuable by helping us learn from others and be discerning as we move ahead.

Now that the LLL responses have been collated, we are holding a workshop to share the results, invite further input, and start the process of bringing together people who have similar interests. Following the workshop, we’ll invite individuals to gatherings focussed on the ideas that interest them. The meetings will help flesh out how the ideas may become ministries. We’ll will also invite our existing groups to consider if they might take on an idea/activity.
I’ll also start to plan for the next stage of the ABCD model – a physical assets review.
So, please make the upcoming workshop (Sunday 6th Nov, 11.30am to 12.30pm) a priority. All are welcome, even if you are struggling to name an area of interest.
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