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What do you imagine resurrection looks like in your city?

This is the question of the Easter season: How do we live out a resurrection reality in our daily lives? The early church mothers and fathers knew that practicing an Easter imagination would take practice, so the season of Easter starts on Easter Sunday and goes for 50 days, ending on May 28th. Baptisms are often held during Easter, inviting people to experience new life that Jesus made possible by rising from the dead.

community transformation christian urban ministry canada
Art by our previous intern, Ruthie Wu

But if you are already baptized, and your community is not full of Christians, what might it look like to live out a resurrection reality? 40 people from around the world have been asking this question as they participated in our Community Transformation Certificate (CTC) course.

The CTC equips you to engage an under-resourced community by listening to the strengths and groanings of your neighbours and co-create a seed project in response. Through training and coaching by our experienced practitioners, you will learn to apply the fundamentals of shalom theology, listening and community organizing to your urban context. Learn more about our upcoming online workshops on June 10 + 17th!

This past cohort included people of diverse backgrounds and faith denominations from France, Liberia, Canada and the US. They are all adopting a listening posture in under-resourced communities in their city to help shape their imagination for resurrection and wholeness. Our blog highlights some of our past participants' experiences.

“This training helped me to think about how I position myself in my community or the community I want to serve in.” -M.D
“[The CTC] helped me to unlearn a lot of unhelpful beliefs or subconscious biases I held and formed my approach going into community work. Learning about the Theology of Shalom made everything hopeful and even beautiful.” -K.C

The Gospel Cycle: a framework for embodying resurrection

Eric Law, an Episcopal Priest from Hong Kong who migrated to the US, looked at the life of Jesus and observed both expressions of power and powerlessness during his time on earth.

He saw Jesus willingly lay down his life in surrender to the Father and take it up again in faith: the invitation is for us to navigate our lives and our power similarly.

We suggest reading his book, "The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb" to learn more.

“I never had frameworks or terms for thinking about strengthening positive assets and people, and found that thought-provoking to think of my neighbourhood through that lens.” - H.G.

This model of Jesus’ life shows us that living in God’s Kingdom as we relate to others who have more or less power is more of a dance, rather than living in one static place. Our day is full of opportunities to choose humility and empowerment as we navigate the variety of contexts we are in.

If we are in situations where it is easy for us to be heard and our ideas implemented, the invitation of the Easter season is to lay down our life, make space, and embrace humility. Taking time to listen to neighbours who are struggling in poverty allows us to know what the real causes of oppression are.

This practice takes the pressure off any one individual to come up with solutions and prevents people from taking a Messiah posture in their efforts to help. In the CTC, you will explore creative ways that you can find pockets of people in your community to listen to, ask questions and determine collaboratively what resurrection and renewal could look like.

“I remember one of the first things I heard our leaders say was how they emphasized the importance of letting the Spirit be our guide within this work. It takes time for the Spirit to cultivate things including within our own assumptions and or convictions where our heart has grown callused.” -J.F.G

Practicing Jesus’ humility through listening

Listening to others’ ideas about what holistic well-being or shalom looks like in their neighbourhood is a practical way that we can participate in Easter renewal and follow the model of Jesus that Paul exhorts us to learn from in Philippians 2:5-8.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
The CTC walks you through creating a Listening Project to hear your neighbours' hopes and longings for transformation.

Some examples of how our CTC participants have experienced renewal with their communities include:

  • A sense of hope when ideas on how to serve the community flow freely after hitting the streets to humbly listen to concerns.

  • Finding new friends with a shared vision for a hopeful future when they discovered other neighbours who also longed for community healing.

  • Experiencing their own shalom and well-being as they join in the Holy Spirit’s work in their community

As a movement that longs to see urban communities transformed, it’s so inspiring to hear what signs of healing could look like in cities around the world. We would love to cultivate an Easter imagination for your city with you!

Join us June 10 and 17th for the Summer cohort of our Community Transformation Program. Applications are being accepted until June 1st.

For more ideas on living out renewal Easter and beyond, we invite you to explore our Easter devotional: download your copy for free here!

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