A definition given by Bryant Myers of World Vision International in his book Walking With the Poor: “I use the term transformational development to reflect my concern for seeking positive change in the whole of human life materially, socially and spiritually .
- Changed people and just and peaceful relationships are the twin goals of transformation . . .
- Changed people are those who have discovered their true identity as children of God and who have recovered their true vocation as faithful and productive stewards of gifts from God for the well‑being of all” (Bryant Myers, Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development [Marynoll: Orbis Books, 1998]
Transform World Working Definition
Transformation is the progressive, ongoing, measurable, and supernatural impact of the presence and power of God working in, through, and apart from the body of Christ on human society and its structures. It involves seeking positive change in the whole of human life materially, socially, and spiritually as we recover our true identity as human beings created in the image of God and discover our true vocation as productive stewards, faithfully caring for our world and its people. Deep and profound change is possible in human beings and is equally possible for the social organisms that we call communities, cities, and nations. We in Collaborative for Neighborhood Transformation use the following:
A permanent change in one’s attitude, belief, and behavior in all areas of an individual’s life (physical, spiritual, emotional, social) who then facilitate the same changes in others; who as an aggregate, change their neighborhood from the inside out.
How Transformation is Different Then Measuring change or Social Impact
- Transformation is a change in all areas of an individual’s knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and behavior in all areas of their life; physical, spiritual, emotional, social and intellectual.
- God is actively involved in this change which is the underlying factor for long term transformation to take place.
- Because of the changes in individuals as they come together they begin to transform their neighborhood from the inside out.
- Identify bisecting interests – where the dreams of the community meet the calling & capacity of the church, in harmony with God’s mandates.
- Recognize “common grace” of God’s work outside of church
- Learn from goals & methods of good secular initiatives
- Align agendas around common ground of the church and neighborhood
- Relationships (horizontal) and prayer (vertical) are key to fruitful intersection between community’s dreams and kingdom goals
- Every person has opportunity to make an informed decision about Christ
- Measure Christ-likeness in unbelievers
Transformation Requires More Then Doing Things for People and Neighborhoods For transformation to take place people and neighborhoods must decide they want something different then what they currently have. Then they must care enough that they are willing to do something about it to see the change take place. If that desire and action are not there then no matter what we do for others might be good but generally transformation does not take place. Transformation comes from inside people themselves and neighborhoods.
But we as Western Christians are focused on doing things for others. People might say sure I would like that and gratefully accept whatever we do for them but does that transform them or their neighborhood? The answer is No.
An Approach that Fosters Transformation
- It is a people-oriented, relationship building process.
- It is designed to identify assets within the neighborhood found in individuals, associations and institutions, and identifies which of those assets they are willing to share.
- Once the assets are identified, you begin to link the people you have been building relationships with, to the assets that would empower them.
- It is based on neighbors helping neighbors, not being dependent on professionals to do things for them.
- It is designed to build up internal and external abilities.
- It is designed to be sustainable.
- It is primarily a grass-root, bottom-up process which requires a person to act as a catalyst and facilitator.
- It is a gradual learning process progressing from the simple to the more complex and from the known to the unknown.
- It works primarily with individuals and households and then impacts the neighborhood as a whole.
- It is greater than the sum of its parts.
- It requires a moral and ethical focus for relationships to grow, which results from establishing trust.
- These ethical values are based on absolutes that do not change, but are the same year-after-year. This is based on God’s Word, the Bible.
Neighborhood Transformation Vision: To see as many cities across North America transformed, neighborhood by neighborhood, in all areas of life. These cities are networked together so eventually the North America is transformed as a whole from the inside out.
Neighborhood Transformation Mission: We exist to expand transformational ministries across North America cities by creating a collaborative of partner organizations that will mutually encourage, motivate, and innovate on behalf of under-served communities. They will focus on transforming neighborhoods and then networking the neighborhoods in a city to transform the city from the inside out. In addition there is a collaborative at each city level and at the national level to see this take place
How Neighborhood Transformation Goes about Ministry: We Connect People, Create Community, Transform Communities and then Connect them into a Collaborative that transform large geographical areas.