I randomly came across an article today which startled me: “Death and Resurrection of an urban church” – in which a church in Indianapolis ditched its traditional-church charity one-way ‘handout to the poor’ approach to local community, to begin truly listening and valuing people in the neighbourhood and their gifts.
After employing De’Amon Harges to be a “roving listener” – to hang out with people in the neighbourhood, and see their giftings, the church then made opportunities for those – now providing a meeting place for a metropolitan youth orchestra and eclectic mix of artist, gamers, a dance studio, a pottery shop, and an office for a small architectural firm. They acquired a commercial kitchen license and now local folk use it for catering startups.
This is such a success that the church now hires 15-20 young folks to be part-time roving listeners. There are lots of simple meals where people of like interests and gifts meet together – through these, people have found jobs, collaborators, encouragement to train further – and friends.
The article is easy to read, written by Robert King (initially published in Faith & Leadership mag 2015) and over at: