1.24.2007

Spiritual and Secular

I'm going to shamelessly crib my friend Jason's insight on asset-based
community development because I found it so stirringly profound.
Asset-based community development is contrasted with needs-based
community development, in that instead of responding to and orienting
around needs, it responds to and orients around assets. Needs-based
community development would look at a neighborhood's weaknesss and
prescribe solutions to overcome them; asset-based community
development would look at a neighborhood's strengths and prescribe
solutions to utilize them.

My friend Jason's insight is that the reformed world is warming to the
spiritual version of asset-based community development. The previous
line of reasoning was that man was totally depraved and need of
salvation. The new line of reasoning does not abandon that truth
doctrinally, but alongside that notion is the notion that there is
still some sense that people are created in the image of God and thus
there are good aspects that can be nurtured to become more dominant.

It is always fun to riff with my minister friends, wise as they are in
spiritual matters while I am irretrievably secular in my viewpoint.
We find manifold parallels in our work, whether community development
versus personal salvation, or market feasibilities versus church
plants, or managers having to pastor their staff while pastors manage
theirs. They tell me my perspective helps them, and remind me that my
secular work is no less important to the Kingdom. Praise be to a God
who is big enough to be Lord over spiritual and secular, and who helps
us to see His lordship and presence in both.

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