“People should stop complaining and do something…”
The desire for change often starts with exasperation - a sigh, a shaking of the head, dissonance in our hearts that moves our butts out of our chairs and onto the street.
We want to see something different, something better, something stronger.
We look outside ourselves to change *that thing* that seems like the problem - and some believe we already know what the solution is.
What has my inner transformation have to do with my community’s transformation?
However, as the Spring cohort of our Community Transformation Certificate program celebrated our closing session recently, participants shared many examples of how inner transformation was necessary and life-giving as they pursued the outer transformation among their communities they wanted to see.
“I started to grow my interest around advocacy and seeing the importance of policy change to create systems-level change.” - H.G.
“Learning how to ask good questions through the CTC program grew my “incarnational” capacity.” - Isabella
“(I grew in) humility in listening and understanding the context (that I live in)” - Matthew
Faithfulness through risk-taking
Building shalom in step with God requires us to try new things. We celebrated the willingness to take a risk no matter the size or outcome throughout the program.
For some participants like C.L., the entire process was new. “I talked to strangers in the neighbourhood, spoke to neighbours whom I didn't know, called people whom I didn't know, and showed up at places I didn't know about!”
For others, the listening process created new ideas for how to bring community members’ voices into their justice-related work. For example, H.G invited one neighbour to speak on his own behalf at a work related workshop regarding improving housing security for underhoused people. It “turned into a pretty wild conversation!”
All of the inner work necessary to move through fears and barriers requires good support. Our CTC program offers one-on-one coaching to help each participant continue to reach a program-related goal of their choice. Our program coaches are all Servant Partners staff equipped with life-coaching skills to support participants in applying what they have learnt into their own lives and communities.
“I really loved coaching! I found it super helpful to talk with someone who has walked others through the projects and has the shared experience of living and working in a low-income neighbourhood.” -H.G
“It was definitely an answer to my prayer for more training and support in my ministry, and also helped re-shape my posture towards the neighbourhood and myself, even though I still feel like I have more questions than answers.” - past CTC participant
As this cohort wraps up, nine more communities across North America will have change agents, actively doing the work of listening to themselves, their neighbours, and to God - while equipping local leaders in their midst to do the same for the sake of seeking God’s shalom. They tasted the goodness of God in their own lives as they pursued transformation alongside their neighbours.
Do you want to experience your own transformation as you work for change in your neighbourhood? Applications for the Summer 2023 cohort on June 10 + 17th are open now until July 25th. We hope to see you there!
Learn more about our CTC program here and email program coordinator Krista-Dawn (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.