Reflections On Community Development

Last week the SOS Academy Interns traveled to Atlanta for an Open House at FCS Urban Ministries. This is always such an encouraging time for our Interns and also a time where they learn a LOT. We asked them to reflect on their time touring FCS. Below are some snippets that they took away from that time.

SOS Academy Interns in Atlanta

"In the Church, we need to resurrect a theology of place.”

One of the biggest take-aways for me came in this one statement. I think it’s a really powerful truth that actual physical place matters to God, and thus it should also matter to us as Christians, as the Church. Our generation is one that values who we are and what we do much more than where we do it. When technology enables us to keep up with relationships and communicate instantaneously over miles and even oceans, it also enables us to become virtually absent from the actual places in which we work, live, go to church, etc. As followers to Christ, individually and communally, we need to remember what is so easy to forget, that: 1) We were created finitely within the confines of place, that this is good, and that we ought to be far more intentional about really being wherever we are-- our neighborhoods, workplaces, communities, churches-- in the hood and in suburbia alike. 2) If we’re going to be intentional about being present and investing wherever we are, then where we choose to be, work, live, and develop relationships really does matter and should be chosen with intentionality too. - Lyss Gorman

"The gift of exchange"

“...include people in the gift of EXCHANGE, of the market place. Everyone likes a good bargain… Why would we exclude the poor in this?” Although this was not new to me, I still find it to be a fascinating idea that we often don’t think of. - Jake Wiig

“I will never do for others what they can do for themselves.”

I am wrestling with the concept that "I will never do for others what they can do for themselves." It is such a good concept, and I completely can see the logic behind it, and I think that it’s correct in saying that doing for others what they can do will only hinder their development.  It’s easy to say that.  It’s harder to remind my compassionate side that in a moment.  I am learning to take a moment and process if someone asks for my help, and then pray through what is ACTUALLY helpful to that person’s development. - Becca Tarleton

"Gentrification with justice"

Another concept I loved was the idea of “gentrification with justice.” I wrestle a lot with the good and bad of gentrification in as it relates to community development, but it was a good reminder that gentrification will inevitably happen, and our job is not to prevent it or to force it, but to cultivate it for the Kingdom, adding justice, compassion, and genuine care to the process of gentrification. - Lyss Gorman

"God's hand moving in Atlanta..."

FCS is full of men and women who want to serve God. They aren't perfect, there are bumps in the road, things that need to be improved but ultimately any success they have is a result of God's hand moving in Atlanta. My take away from the trip was that it is my responsibility to recognize my insufficiency. I am lazy and selfish and full of pride. I cannot change my world but God can. God can give me wisdom and a servant's heart. He can give me humility and inspiration. God can take me and make me whatever it is that he desires and so it is my responsibility to have faith and obey. Faith. Obedience. Grace. - Stephen Copeland

"God's redemptive story"

One thing that I really began to notice is that God can give you a general interest in so many different things when they all involve God’s redemptive story for people and communities. What I mean by this is that I am not naturally interested in the housing market, home repair, thrift stores, or community dancing organizations but I am fascinated when I see the details of how they bring about end results like dignity, home ownership, and child enrichment. The strategies and the motives are beautiful to me! - Lizzie Liddell