Dignity Serves:

Improve: Helping Others

Perhaps you have read When Helping Hurts or Toxic Charity.  Maybe you wonder how to help without hurting others, without compounding dependency, without being paternalistic. Dignity Serves has helped thousands of people serve others more effectively. Trained facilitators guide you through this six-lesson interactive study.  It is a paradigm shifting, deeply impactful learning experience that will teach you how to give and receive with dignity in every aspect of life.

9 Hours – Best taught within a 2-day time frame.



Asset Based Community Development:

Improve: Mindset and approaches to poverty alleviation

Have you heard the phrase “find a need and fill it”? Have you asked a non-profit what “problem” they exist to reduce or eliminate? How are things going in your community? Are the needs or problems going away as non-profits grow and proliferate? Are you interested in learning a different approach to poverty alleviation? Two paradigm shifts occur in this training: 1.Shifting one’s approach from a deficit orientation to an asset (gifts) orientation. No matter the deficits, there is a lot to work with. 2. Community Formation: Together we can.

12 Hours – Best taught in 2 or 3 modules taught fairly close together.


Habits of Community Listening:

Improve: Getting to ministry WITH your community

People act on what they care about. How do you discover and partner with neighbors in addressing the things they care about? Through listening. Listening produces at least 3 results: 1. Discover what people care about; 2. Discover what there is to work with in the community; 3. Discover who cares enough to act (find the leaders).  In this workshop we focus on practices and habits of community listening. A workshop requiring participant engagement.

2 hours   


Healthy Church AND Healthy Community: A polarity to be managed

Improve: Integral mission

Description: In this workshop participants will learn about and the complexity of affecting dual scorecards, the church scorecard AND the community scorecard. Participants will imagine methods and  systems for attending both scorecards respectfully and concurrently.

90 minutes


The Seven Stages of Neighborhood Transformation

Improve: Understanding of what it takes to transform neighborhoods.

Description: Great Lakes Urban has been learning about neighborhood improvement and development (using Asset Based Community Development practices) with leaders working in 300 neighborhoods nation-wide. We have identified seven natural phases of development in neighborhood transformation journeys. Participants in this workshop develop a clearer picture of what it takes to improve neighborhoods over time. A workshop requiring participant engagement.

1.5 hours



Good Neighbor, Great Neighbor

Improve: Joy and Cooperation in the Neighborhood

It is not rocket science, it is totally counter-cultural, and it really does bring peace, joy and fun to a neighborhood. In this workshop we remember how it was, we imagine how it could be, and we generate practices that we will commit to as great neighbors on our blocks. A workshop requiring participant engagement.

90 minutes.


Ministry In, To/For or With a Community

Improve: Ministry movement from In to To/For to With

In this workshop we starkly define the differences in these three categories of ministry through participant story telling. We then talk about natural ways to move from 1 category to the next. There are practices that can lead to natural and incremental change. Incremental change is most often the best kind of change. You will decide what changes or additional practices make sense for your context.

A workshop requiring participant engagement.

90 minutes.


Breaking Through Isolation

Improve: Decide how to replace isolation with community.

Isolation is the perpetuator of poverty. In this workshop we focus on 3 kinds of isolation: Personal, Communal and Systemic. After a description of each, and a story to illustrate each, we’ll brainstorm actions and methods for replacing isolation with community. A workshop requiring participant engagement.

90 Minutes


Operation Restoration: A Theology of Transformation

Improve: Develop a Biblical basis for engaging in Social Change.

In this workshop, you will hear a story of transformation, you will explore Scripture passages re Redemption, The Great Co-Mission, The Lord’s Prayer, The Great Commandment and the Kingdom come(ing), all to the end that you develop a coherent Biblical basis for personally engaging in God’s ongoing redemption story.  A workshop requiring participant engagement.

90 Minutes.


Appreciative Inquiry:

Improve: A new approach to change and development; From defining and solving problems to discovering and building on strengths.

In this workshop we learn what Appreciative Inquiry is and then we work together on applying it to particular situations and scenarios. Some of them you bring, some the facilitator brings. A workshop requiring participant engagement.

90 minutes.


Community Development: What is it?

Improve: Your understanding of it, and find your place in it.

This is an introduction to Christian Community Development focusing on the principles and practices as taught by CCDA (8 Key Components) and the six key dimensions of Community Development work found in Communities First. This workshop combines exercises with presentation.

6 hours


Results Based Management

Improve: Planning and acting on plans

From illiterate people groups to educated people, logic model planning can help people dream act more purposefully. In this workshop you learn the method and you leave with the beginning of a plan.

4 hours.