loren Eric Swanson: Robert Linthicum

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Robert Linthicum

After meeting with Rudy, we drove over to a restaurant where we met with Robert and Marlene Linthicum. Bob, along with John McKnight, is the leading thought leader / practitioner on community organizing and grass roots transformation. (There are two approaches to community transformation--need-based and asset-based. Bob is a proponent of the latter--seing each community filled with assets.

Bob says there are four ways a church can engage its community.
1) It can do nothing
2) It can determine what a community needs and provide it for the community. "This is better than doing nothing...but not much better." For example people from the church see a bunch of kids playing stickball in the street and decide it is too dangerous for them, so they invite them into the church gymnasium. The people in the community are upset because watching their kids play in the street was a way for them to sit on their porch, connect with their neighbors and talk about community issues. What was perceived as a problem was really a solution.
3) "Let's survey the community." So a church develops questions. People of the community become objects from which you gather data. The church is in charge of the process and determines the problems and programs. "I don't know anything more harmful than this approach."
4) Building relationship with the people. "People precede program." "We've been in this neighborhood for years but we haven't been very good neighbors. We just want to get to know you." This is followed by a series of natural questions:
"How long have you lived here?"
"How have you seen the neighborhood change?"
"What attracted you to this neighborhood in the first place?" (The answers tell you what is important to them.)
"How has it worked out for you?"
(Never take notes...it's a conversation. Write it all down later)

"A leader is a person with a following." After a while, leaders surface. We then pull these leaders together. "What are you going to do about it?"

You will not bring about community transformation without community organizing. There must be indigenous leaders or this will fail.


At Thursday, August 11, 2005 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Coolout said...

Back from Holland/ India: I
I spent 10 days in Holland; four in and around Amsterdam and six at Utrecht attending a conference on Soft Matter.
Nice blog....looking for the latest hip hop rap video site/blog. Its all about hip hop rap video

At Thursday, August 11, 2005 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

Awesome Blog! I added you to my bookmarks. Feel free to check out my blog on annual credit reports online anytime!


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