Transforming Villages and Hearts

A few days ago I was having dinner with my friend Timothy McKinney, director of United Global Outreach in Bithlo, FL. If you’ve followed my blog you might remember that I went to Bithlo on a mission trip this last July. If not, you can read more about it in my Shared Justice article here.
We had a great time talking about what God has been doing with me in Portland at Glenfair Church and how much more the Transformation Village project in Bithlo is growing to include more people to come together to care for and develop the community. One of the things that Tim told me that I felt was very valuable is, “Since the people you are doing projects with are doing the groundwork that so many people are still just talking about, it will be vital for you to identify ways to solve the problems you see together.” While that it is true that it takes a lot of commitment, energy, relationship building, and time for transformation to occur it has to start with having an end goal in mind so that concrete action steps can be implemented and accomplishments can be celebrated.
In those action steps towards transformation it is vital for community resources, groups, and individuals to understand how they can contribute towards the action steps you are putting forward. Using similar language and being familiar with each person’s abilities and networks can be helpful so that everyone is sharing a piece of the work.
As a Children’s Pastor and as a community member I am concerned about the overall wellness of the people around me (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health). I want people to experience community in a way that speaks forth life and purpose into the everyday existence of people through the structures (economic, social, government, and local church) they encounter. This means shaking up those structures by calling for renewal and offering ourselves, our very lives, as servants with tenacity. We have to be about acting on our Father’s business to love God, love others, love ourselves by presenting Jesus for who he really is: the giver of hope and shalom (wholeness) for the eventual reconciliation of everything that is redeemable under God’s purposes. Transforming villages comes out of a desire to see God also transform hearts throughout this process.
As I left my conversation with Tim here is a final thought he left me with, “Don’t just think about what could be possible, actually believe it will happen. You’ll be shocked how many people are surprised that you truly believe your goals are attainable.” So here is my final thought I leave you with- let the seeds of your imagination fill you with hope and lead you to actions for the common good of others that require an act of God on your behalf so that when transformation does occur, he will receive all of the glory!
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