This is so refreshing!

From Matt...

I remember being a kid and selling candy bars as a fundraiser for my marching band...I hated it! Going to the neighbors’ doors and asking them to buy something was fraught with opportunities for rejection.

That feeling returns to me when I start walking through SoCe to interview people for SoCe Life. I have a little seed of dread that is planted in the back of my mind. But then it all changes!

I just came back from interviewing a neighbor and it was fantastic! Myrna was with me and we asked the neighbor for about five minutes of her time. Then we started asking her about her work experiences and what she likes to do. Soon we had gone past 5 minutes because we were laughing and sharing stories and hopes for the future.

SoCe Life isn’t like selling candy bars! In fact, it is the opposite. It is refreshing and energizing. And here is why: we aren’t taking from people, we’re just asking them to talk about themselves--and people don’t actually get to do that very often. When we interview people, we aren’t using people to build up ourselves, we’re connecting with people because we care about them and our neighborhood. For me, this type of caring and this type of connecting and this type of encouraging is what the kingdom of God is all about! (Maybe the church needs to spend less time taking from people and spending more time just listening to them.)

How does ABCD work?

From Matt...

No, I'm not talking about the alphabet--ha! Asset Based Community Development is so simple it is easy to overlook its brilliance! Here is how it works:

  1. People who are part of SoCe Life go door-to-door throughout the neighborhood and ask people if they will spend a few minutes answering some questions. If the person says yes, they are interviewed. During the interview they share their work experience, special skills, hobbies, interests and talents. If there is anything they do well enough they could teach others that is noted. They can also list anything they would like to learn.

  2. This information is brought back to our office where we look for patterns of abilities, such as a group of people who have a similar hobby. We also look for correlations between skills and job opportunities (this can help strengthen the economy in the neighborhood).

  3. We connect the dots by inviting people to connect based on what we’ve learned and what we’ve noticed. People can always decline the invitation. The belief is that a connection between just two neighbors is good for them and the neighborhood.

There are more steps beyond this, but those are harder to describe because it depends on what happens in the neighborhood. For now we are planting the seeds, and we’ll wait to see what starts to grow.