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July 22/2013

How Will We Know If Transformation is Happening

reposted from Stantheurbanguy’s Blog

We have already looked at Why It is Important to Look for Transformation and some broad questions that might be asked. Now let us look at Indicators, their definition and use.

The content on indicators in general comes from the article, Measuring the World. Indicators, Human Rights, and Global Governance by Sally Engle Merry, Current Anthropology, Vol. 52, No. S3, Corporate Lives: Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research

Indicators are rapidly multiplying as tools for assessing and promoting a variety of social justice and reform strategies around the world. There are indicators of rule of law, indicators of violence against women, and indicators of economic development, among many others. Indicators are widely used at the national level and are increasingly important in global governance. Development agencies such as the World Bank have created a wide range of indicators, including indicators of global governance and rule of law, and gross domestic product is one of the most widely used and accepted indicators.

Indicators are a technology of not only knowledge production but also governance. They are widely used for decisions, such as where to send foreign aid, where to focus on human rights violators, and which countries offer the best conditions for business development. They represent a technology of producing readily accessible and standardized forms of knowledge.

Defining Indicators:  Indicators are statistical measures that are used to consolidate complex data into a simple number or rank that is meaningful to policy makers and the public. They tend to ignore individual specificity and context in favor of superficial but standardized knowledge. An indicator presents clearly the most important features relevant to informed decision making about one issue or question. Although indicators are quantitative—expressed in rates, ratios, percentages, or numbers—some are based on qualitative information converted into numbers.

How This Applies to Wholistic Transformation:  It is important to see if there has been Wholistic Transformation, transformation that has changed the way people and neighborhoods think, feel and act in multiple areas of life. Therefore one change in a neighborhood or person is not going to indicate if transformation is taking place. There needs to be multiple elements being transformed. Let’s look at some specific way:

  • Indicators can help shape the direction and methods of the church’s ministry:
  • Indicators represent opportunity for enhanced relationship with the community
  • Use of indicators can expand the church’s community impact
  • Indicators can be integrated into the church’s mission

What a NT Neighborhood Could Eventually Look Like

  • Neighbors feel this is a good place to live and raise your kids
  • Well-built and maintained homes and apartments,
  • Healthy people, each one practicing good hygiene.
  • Streets and yards not clogged with junk cars and other junk
  • Unity and cooperation among the neighborhood members.
  • People doing things together.
  • A primary school with children testing well
  • Streets that are clean and a good system for garbage disposal.
  • Basic services which are accessible to everyone.
  • An organized neighborhood association truly representing the neighborhood.
  • Absence of bars and gambling.
  • Christian churches reaching out wholistically to their neighbors.
  • People meaningfully employed
  • Adequate income for everyone.
  • More adults with a GED
  • Little or no drug dealing in their neighborhood
  • Elimination of prostitution in their neighborhood.
  • Most homes worshiping the Lord.
  • Neighbors knowing and reaching out to their neighbors
  • Neighborhood members who serve as volunteers
  • People living in harmony with each other, helping each other.
  • A can-do attitude proud of what they have accomplished
  • Greatly reduced or non-existent crime.
  • Reduction in abuse among family members
June 26/2013

 Transformation Requires more than Doing Things for People and Neighbourhoods

reposted from Stantheurbanguy’s Blog

For transformation to take place people and neighborhoods must decide they want something different then what they currently have. Then they must care enough that they are willing to do something about it to see the change take place. If that desire and action are not there then no matter what we do for others might be good but generally transformation does not take place. Transformation comes from inside people themselves and neighborhoods.

But we as Western Christians are focused on doing things for others. People might say sure I would like that and gratefully accept whatever we do for them but does that transform them or their neighborhood? The answer is No.

There are three ways of helping people and neighborhoods

  • Relief Doing Things for People. Provides assistance without addressing long term needs nor using assets found in the people or neighborhood
  • Betterment or Mentoring Individuals to Change Things they Want Changed. Tend to create short term positive, caring beneficial environments and relationships that offer participants respite or positive experiences.
  • Transformation of Individuals and Neighborhoods That is Wholistic and is Sustainable It s focus on measured changes in knowledge, skills abilities or conditions of the participants that  when combined together sees their neighborhood transformed from the inside

An Approach that Fosters Transformation  

  • It is a people-oriented, relationship building process.
  • It is designed to identify assets within the neighborhood found in individuals, associations and institutions, and identifies which of those assets they are willing to share.
  • Once the assets are identified, you begin to link the people you have been building relationships with, to the assets that would empower them.
  • It is based on neighbors helping neighbors, not being dependent on professionals to do things for them.
  • It is designed to build up internal and external abilities.
  • It is designed to be sustainable.
  • It is primarily a grass-root, bottom-up process which requires a person to act as a catalyst and facilitator.
  • It is a gradual learning process progressing from the simple to the more complex and from the known to the unknown.
  • It works primarily with individuals and households and then impacts the neighborhood as a whole.
  • It is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • It requires a moral and ethical focus for relationships to grow, which results from establishing trust.
  • These ethical values are based on absolutes that do not change, but are the same year-after-year. This is based on God’s Word, the Bible.
June 26/2013

Why Is It important to Look for Transformation

reposted from Stantheurbanguy’s Blog

  • so we can see how God is working and to what degree and in what areas of individual and neighborhood life.
  • It  allows room for God to act.
  • To better manage programs
  • Motivation for leaders of transformation, committee members and people doing the work.
  • Helps committee supervise the workers and direct the project.
  • Is motivation for all stakeholders and neighborhood people.
  • Demonstrates accountability
  • Evaluate progress of different elements in the program.
  • Others can see the validity of the program.
  • To satisfy donor/investor requirements
  • To raise public awareness of the issues being addressed
  • To find areas where transformation is not taking place.
  • Identifies needs and interests in the neighborhood which are not being met.
  • To demonstrate effectiveness of the program.
  • It informs others of good practices that could be used elsewhere.
  • Helps looking for outside resources as the reports validity requests

Questions that Might be Asked So That We Can Look for Transformation

  • What would the neighborhood look like where people lived the Golden Rule?
  • What would the neighborhood look like where everyone could read?
  • What would the neighborhood look like if every student graduated high-school?
  • What would the neighborhood look like in regard to crime, abuse, and violence?
  • What would the neighborhood look like if every orphan had a mentor?
  • What would the neighborhood look like if the weak were empowered?
  • What would the neighborhood look like if God’s Kingdom were operative?
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Biblical Basis for Wholistic Transformational Ministry

reposted from Stantheurbanguy’s Blog

Christians are commanded in Luke 10:27 to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbors as themselves. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will truly be concerned with their welfare, both physically and spiritually. We will want to help our neighbors live more abundant, meaningful lives here on earth and to share with others how they can have eternal life. Because of God’s love for us, we desire to share that love.

Jesus made a startling statement in Matthew 25:34-40. He asserted that as we give food and drink to those in need, take in strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and visit those in prisons, we are doing these things to Him. Most of us would find it easy to do these things for Christ and for our own family, but Jesus says we must even do them for the lowliest of people, including those we don’t know or may even dislike. We are called to serve all men.

The emphasis of Christ’s Great Commission is on the spiritual needs of man. He commands us in Matthew 28:19, 20 to go into all nations and make disciples of all. We will do this in the name of Jesus and under the authority of God. This command is not given as an option. Jesus promises to be with us in His full authority and power both now and always. Thus we go forth boldly in Christ’s strength made available through the Holy Spirit and not in our own power.

We are told in II Timothy 2:2 to train faithful men to teach others who, in turn, will teach others. The focus of this verse is multiplication. As we pour our lives into faithful men, they will catch the vision for teaching others who, in turn, will help others.

However, when Jesus walked this earth He ministered to the whole person. He healed the sick as He preached and taught. When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to minister to others, He commanded them to heal the sick, being concerned for the physical needs of others, as well as preaching the good news of Jesus Christ. Today if we are to follow Christ’s example, one person must do both as did the disciples. As Christians, we too must be concerned for the well-being of the whole man. This involves meeting both physical and spiritual needs, and training others to do so also.

Traditionally, a number of churches and missions have been committed to caring for people’s physical and spiritual needs, but generally people specialize in meeting either the spiritual needs (pastor, evangelist, etc.) or physical needs (doctor, engineer, etc.). For many, this leads to conflict of interest between urgent physical concerns and the spiritual needs of the people. The tendency is to become drawn in to exclusive areas of focus, away from wholistic ministry.

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June 5/2013

What Wholistic Means

reposted from Stantheurbanguy’s Blog

Let’s talk about wholistic and what it means to us. We spell wholistic with a ‘W’ because it keeps ever in front of us the idea that we need to deal with the whole person, all aspects of their life, and the whole community or neighborhood, meaning all sectors in that place.

Some people and the Webster Dictionary spell it without the W and give it a spiritual meaning from holy. We agree with that BUT feel it is more important to concentrate on the whole, not just on the spiritual or holy aspect.

Dela Adadevoh who was my director in Africa and who I spoke of last week wrote another book The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person  speaks about the Wholism from a Biblical basis.

Dela says the Gospel is a redemption and restoration story; it is restoration to a blessed spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and material state. He goes on to list the Characteristics found in the Garden of Eden which include; goodness, beauty, order, purpose satisfaction and intimacy with God.  The phrase “Kingdom of God” is used frequently to explain God’s plan for the nations and people of Jesus Christ.  Knowledge and will are not enough to make people holy and spiritual.

The ultimate impact of the Gospel is the Hebrew concept of Shalom which is peace with God meaning there is no longer separation between man and God. The Gospel gives us the promise of entering God’s rest’ physically, spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. Shalom also means we can now live in peace with the rest of creation. The blessing we leave as missionaries is the blessing of peace

The call to witness for God is not limited in its focus to individuals, God also expects communities and nations to be His witness. The Great Commission is a call to make disciples of all nations, not just make disciples in all nations. Making disciples of all nations is not only making individual disciples but also disciples of communities to ensure they build themselves on Godly principles. God’s blessings are wholistic and primarily seek to bring the people of a nation relationally closer to God.

Dela ends his book by saying ‘Christ honored transformation of society must begin with the church. A transforming Church is an effective agency in the hands of God for transforming society’

In working in a community or neighborhood, we are looking into the above areas as well, but the different sectors found in a community come more into play. Therefore, when we talk about community, sometimes we will use the term sectors, and when dealing with the individual, we talk more in terms of physical, spiritual, emotional and social aspects.

Just concentrating on one area of life, such as just working with a person’s health or getting them a job, helps them in one way, but there needs to be assistance in multiple areas of life for real transformation to take place.

Let’s look at another aspect of being wholistic. Sometimes agencies talk about being wholistic when they have different people deal with the different sectors or areas in a person’s or community’s life. But to us that is not wholistic. That is parallel track ministry, but all elements rarely come to play in a person or community. Instead, what needs to happen is that multiple elements must come into play in order to see transformation. The people working in their own track are specialists and generally only concentrate on their specialty

I use the illustration: Have you ever look down a straight line of railroad tracks? The tracks start out being in parallel but far down the line they seem to converge. However, as you walk down the tracks you see that they never do. This is what happens when we have specialists working on their track.

They hope that all the people working together will bring convergence. But this does not happen.

For us to see wholistic transformation, all areas and sectors of life in individuals and a community must be done by one person who is looking for wholistic transformation to take place. This means we want to help people (in CHE or NT) to be generalists not specialists.

This also means you also have to use the KISS, Keep It Short and Simple, principle when helping people. In other words, we must decide what is the most important thing another person needs to understand, and forget sharing many of the “what-ifs”—the things people might need to know in the future or things that might be nice to know but others would never use.

So remember, it is best when we have generalists who deal with multiple areas in a community’s or person’s life, and who keep it simple. In another blog I will share with you how this is accomplished through our participatory teaching approach.

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May 10/2013

Biblical Perspective to Transformation

reposted from Stantheurbanguy’s Blog

This past week I read with great interest Dela Adadevoh’s new book “Personal Life Transformation” in a Biblical Perspective 2013, International Leadership Foundation, Orlando FL. Dela was my supervisor as Africa Director of Affairs in 1988 when we were on staff with Campus Crusade in Nairobi and developing CHE. Currently Dela is the Global VP for Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) and founded the International Leadership Foundation in 2004 which he serves as president today. The ideas presented are taken from his book as they fully represent where we are coming from in Transformation.

Dela says right belief does not automatically lead to transformed lives and right actions. Right actions do not necessarily lead to transformed minds, values and lives. There needs to be intentionality in developing life values and principles from beliefs. People have to be helped not only to believe the right things but also to know how the truth relates to real life issues.

Central to transformation is our worldview, that is how we unconsciously view the world around us. Dela says a world view change is a sustained commitment to looking at our world from another frame of reference with a new set of values.

Worldviews are formed by a unique inter-relationship between conceptual categories which Dela identifies as God, truth, authority, power, success, love forgiveness and service. The key question is the transformation process is What is Truth? A person’s worldview informs their beliefs, values and behavior. Our worldview is the aggregate of our various conceptual understandings and how they inter-relate with one another

To experience biblical transformation one has to believe in, God is Creator, God is a perfect person, The characteristics and revealed will of God are absolutes, the Bible as the Word of God, Jesus Christ is the perfect human , Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Jesus Christ as the Savior and the spirit of God as the agent of transformation.

Transformation must be motivated by intrinsic factors striking at the core of one’s beliefs and outlook on life. This causes a radical change of one’s outlook on life consequently ones values in life which affect our behavior.

For full transformation people need a personal relationship with Christ. They are living like Jesus in the contemporary world and leading like Jesus does through Servant Leadership which empower people to be more then they have dreamt they could be. The goal of transforming a person’s worldview, must have at its heart the restoration of humans into the image of God as they become good stewards of God’s creation.

Dela goes onto say Interdependence is the objective of God in everything that he calls us to do. To me this is the factor tying a neighborhood together so their neighborhood can be redeemed and restored.

Transformed lives are validated by transformed system, structure and situation, Transformed leaders must translate their new outlooks and values into new decisions and policies that will result in new institutions and societies.

One of the identified challenges in transformation is the disconnect between the private and public lives of people. The transformation process begins with personal life transformation that should lead to transforming relationships which should lead to institutional or organizational transformation. The process for transformation should increasingly approximate the life of Christ.

No person, nor society can be fully transformed as that will only come when Christ returns. But we can continually think about, plan for, equip and look for transformation taking place in this life. Transformational impact in society increases numbers of transforming people and leaders.

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May 1, 2103

What is Transformation

reposted from Stantheurbanguy’s Blog

TRANSFORMATION DEFINITIONS
Let us look at seven definitions of Transformation as used by different organizations

definition given by Bryant Myers of World Vision International in his book Walking With the Poor:
“I use the term transformational development to reflect my concern for seeking positive change in the whole of human life materially, socially and spiritually . Changed people and just and peaceful relationships are the twin goals of transformation . . . Changed people are those who have discovered their true identity as children of God and who have recovered their true vocation as faithful and productive stewards of gifts from God for the well being of all” (Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development [Marynoll: Orbis Books, 1998]

The Opportunity International Network (OI) defines Transformational Development as:
“A deeply rooted change in people’s economic, social, political, spiritual and behavioral conditions resulting in their enjoyment of wholeness of life under God’s ordinances.”(Opportunity International: Transformation Indicators Paper [unpublished document: 2000]).

World Vision uses the following:
Transformation is radical change in worldview toward acting on the belief that Jesus frees me from all forms of bondage, and that in that freedom my purpose in life is to love God and neighbor in practical ways. From a transformation perspective, whatever changes occur in the community’s circumstances (access to food and water, health issues, income level, etc.) are less important than how people in the community view their circumstances.

Transform World Working Definition
Transformation is the progressive, ongoing, measurable, and supernatural impact of the presence and power of God working in, through, and apart from the body of Christ on human society and its structures. It involves seeking positive change in the whole of human life materially, socially, and spiritually as we recover our true identity as human beings created in the image of God and discover our true vocation as productive stewards, faithfully caring for our world and its people. Deep and profound change is possible in human beings and is equally possible for the social organisms that we call communities, cities, and nations.

Transformation as Seen By CRWRC
The “transformation” we seek in communities is as deep as the human heart and as broad as the whole range of the human experience in the world God made. We want our approach to faithfully declare that our God reigns; Jesus is Lord over every inch of creation. “From him and through him and to him are all things”(Rom 11:36). We want to do community development that reflects the depth and breadth of the Kingdom. God works in us and through us to transform beliefs and actions, reflected in redeemed community, and focused on peace, justice, and righteousness.”

We in Collaborative for Neighborhood Transformation use the following:
A permanent change in one’s attitude, belief, and behavior in all areas of an individual’s life (physical, spiritual, emotional, social) who then facilitate the same changes in others; who as an aggregate, change their neighborhood from the inside out.

How Transformation is Different Then Measuring change or Social Impact
1. Transformation is a change in all areas of an individual’s knowledge, attitudes,
beliefs and behavior in all areas of their life; physical, spiritual, emotional, social
and intellectual.
2. God is actively involved in this change which is the underlying factor for long
term transformation to take place.
3. Because of the changes in individuals as they come together they begin to
transform their neighborhood from the inside out.
4. Identify bisecting interests – where the dreams of the community meet the
calling and capacity of the church, in harmony with God’s mandates
5. Recognize “common grace” of God’s work outside of church
6. Learn from goals & methods of good secular initiatives
7. Align agendas around common ground of the church and neighborhood
8. Relationships (horizontal) and prayer (vertical) are key to fruitful
intersection between community’s dreams and kingdom goals
9. Every person has opportunity to make an informed decision about Christ
10. Measure Christ-likeness in unbelievers

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April 8, 2013

What is your Passion? Mine is Transformation

A friend of mine is beginning a series of blogs on Wholistic Transformation of which this Blog being the Introduction to a series of eight more posts which will cover:
• What is Transformation
• What Wholistic Means
• Biblical Basis of Wholistic Transformation
• Why is Wholistic Transformation Important
• Transformation Requires More than Doing Things for Others
• How will We Know if Transformation is Happening
• How Do I get Involved in Wholistic Transformation in My Place
• How do I get Involved in Wholistic Transformation More Broadly

The purpose in writing these blogs is to find like minded people who have an interest and or passion for Transformation. Then we want to help them better understand what Transformation is all about and how they can get involved where they are and in simple ways. But first let’s talk about people’s passions.

Steve Moore in his book Who is My Neighbor? talks about passion. There are two levels of Passion; Interest Based and Issue Based. We need to have ways that people can become involved in their interest and passion level that they are willing to become involved in: He talks about two types of passion
Interest Based where people do things for fun as it brings them enjoyment.
Issue/Cause Based where people become more and more involved because it brings them a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
He depicts an Issue/Cause Based Passion as what he calls a Passion Pyramid with Level 1 being the base and Level 4 the top.
Level 1: Learning More About an issue or cause that attracts them.
They are willing to spend time in learning more what the Issue/cause is all about.
Level 2: Engaging in Activities is becoming involved in doing things and
learning more as their commitment to the issue is growing
Level 3: Influencing Others by sharing what they have learned and done
with others because they want to see their passion spread.
Level 4: Heavy commitment and leadership is present even when sacrifice is needed.
They continue on spreading and leading no matter what it takes to accomplish their passion

This Blog will use this approach in identifying people who resonate somewhat with our cause of Transformation. Then help them learn about the issue and get them involved in simple ways where they are and hopefully they will begin to spread their growing passion for Transformation among the people in their sphere of influence.

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Mar 15/2013

What is Justice and Compassion?

I had a friend comment,

“in the header of your website, you say A celebration of  God working through justice and compassion.  I like the tagline a lot.  What I hear you saying is essentially “A demonstration of how God works….”.  So, I think it’d be good to have some sort of discussion, theological or otherwise, as to what “justice and compassion” means in God’s eyes.  I find that these are topics that most people haven’t considered theologically.  We know we’re supposed to have compassion and seek justice, but that’s about all we know.  The question of ‘why it’s important to God’ doesn’t get much play in Christian circles… “

The Problem

The problem is that public service is becoming “in-thing” to do all across North America. Our good intentions have unintended, negative repercussions. “Our free food and clothing distribution encourages ever-growing handout lines, diminishing the dignity of the poor while increasing their dependency. We converge on inner-city neighborhoods to plant flowers and pick up trash, battering the pride of residents who have the capacity (and responsibility)  to beautify their own environment. We fly off on missions trips to poverty-stricken villages, hearts full of pity and suitcases bulging with giveaways – trips that one Nicaraguan leader describes as effective only in “turning my people into beggars” ” Excerpt from Toxic Charity ©2011.

The stories go on and on. A church in Mexico painted 6 times by 6 different groups in ONE summer. Villages that have frequent teams visiting having pre-planning meetings about who is going to “go forward” this time. Entire wardrobes are thrown out knowing that there is another team coming with “new” clothes. And the kicker, people heading back to suburbia or their city or their country feeling blessed by being able to help someone who is “less fortunate”.

 Biblically…

God reveals himself as compassionate and just towards the poor, the oppressed, the hungry, the fatherless, and the widow. Throughout Scripture God instructs His people to be a community that reflects his nature; a people of compassion, justice, and mercy. Thus, acts of compassion and generosity are important spiritual disciplines that we must cultivate in our life; to care for the poor and oppressed; to live generously toward others’ needs.  In doing so, we carry on the ministry of Jesus and reflect an accurate image of God to the world.

Justice ensures that all people are valued and treated with dignity and fairness because all are loved by God and made in his image. Sin causes humans to have a distorted worldview that allows for prejudices that devalue others. As a result, people suffer injustice. Jesus came to redeem our relationships with God, one another and his creation. We are called to be ministers of this message of reconciliation and serve people, releasing them from spiritual, physical, social and economic bondages.

 How Do We Move Forward?

So how do we become ministers of reconciliation and serve people to release them? How do we do this so our helping does not hurt? How can we build steps to sustainability and support?  I encourage you to comment.

I leave you with The Oath for Compassionate Service by Robert Lupton

  1. Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
  2. Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
  3. Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.
  4. Subordinate self-interests to the needs of those being served.
  5. Listen closely to those you seek to help, especially to what is not being said – unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to effective service.
  6. Above all, do no harm.

 

 

This post is also available in: French, Spanish

a ministry of the Christian & Missionary Alliance of Canada celebrating God working through Justice and Compassion