Beginning Asset-based community Development

(from article Robert King “Death and Resurrection of an Urban Church, retrieved 15 April 2017)

Three steps in the process

1. Listen

Learn about your community by paying attention to its people and environment, including individuals; associations and other community groups; institutions such as clinics, schools and grocery stores; local economics; physical characteristics such as highways and valleys; and natural areas such as parks and woodlands.

2. Connect the dots

See relationships between ideas, resources and opportunities that others have not seen. Connecting the dots requires practice and collaboration; no one person can see the whole network.

3. Take action

Asset-based processes engage the gifts of people who are motivated to act. Meetings should end with a clear plan about who will take what steps.

For a practical guide to an asset-based approach to ministry, read “Discovering the Other” by Cameron Harder.


Questions to consider

Who do you serve? With whom do you partner? What difference does framing the relationship make in the outcomes achieved?


The Rev. Mike Mather asks people, “What three things do you do well enough that you could teach others how to do it?” How does a question like that shift the conversation?
Is anyone assigned to listen to your congregation and community? If so, do those listeners compare notes and connect what they are learning?
Mather realized that his church’s food pantry might be contributing to obesity and diabetes. Do your ministries produce unintended consequences? How do you envision the impact of your projects? How do you assess their impact?

About commaandco

Poet and blogger at encouraging personal creativity and linking arts and life
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