The Giftedness of Community

“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

Last week, I spent the entire work week in St. Louis at a conference sponsored by The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief and Development. The focus of the conference was to learn more about asset-based community development and how it can become an ethos for our own parish in our approach to outreach ministry.

At its core, asset based community development is the practice of listening to our surroundings, especially the people that are around us, to discover the gifts that are present in the community. By listening to the people that surround me, I am able to discover incredible gifts in the community that can be used to transform a community through shared work, shared listening, and shared conversation. Instead of being a program that we roll out to the community, asset based community development is a way of living that rests on the foundation of invitation and hospitality. It is a way to engage in conversation with each other in order to discover the gifts that are present in the community, and it is a way for us to recognize our own gifts that can help transform a community. Continue reading