Community Transformation

Last week, I and some friends from HOCC attended one of Leadership Network’s learning communities on church multiplication. Those gatherings are awesome. The people you are learning with are really, really, sharp. The fellowship is rich, and the takeaways are great.

The most amazing thing I was blessed to pick up along the way was how communities are being transformed through the use of "positive deviant" methodologies…a new way of helping people groups solve real social/health/financial problems. This requires much less funding, and is much more organic in nature…allowing native peoples to solve the most important issues of their city or village in ways that are far more contextualized. It’s transforming the community from within, not from outside. Beautiful…. here’s an article that speaks of how the method was used to solve the problem of malnutrition among children in a Vietnamese village. A truly amazing story.

Click here to read it.

Click here to watch a video on how this methodology was used to eradicate guinea worm disease overseas. BE FOREWARNED…don’t watch this if you just ate spaghetti…or any meal for that matter.

Here’s the question…what are the possible implications of this way of going about community transformation for "benevolence" ministry here in the United States?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Share Your Thoughts

2 thoughts on “Community Transformation

  1. Thank you for adding me on facebook, also I know you are a Edwin Friedman fan, were you aware that some of his essay’s have been published and are available on Amazon?

  2. Tim,
    Here are two great examples of community empowerment which both provide for physical and spiritual needs.
    The first you probably already know about: Central Dallas Ministries ( While they provide a wide range of services from after-school programming, food pantry, medical and legal aid, they look at their community members that benefit as partners in their work: neighbors helping neighbors. The after-school program is completely staffed by parents of the children who attend; the food bank is run by former beneficiaries; those who receive services are highly encouraged to volunteer their own time to give back.
    Second example: Connecting Caring Communities ( is a relatively new nonprofit organization in Abilene, which empowers neighbors to build social networks, get to know and serve one another. As they build relationships, they also build the resources that they have in their own communities, helping people to help themselves.
    A lot of times it is easy for churches to regulate “benevolence” to handing out food and clothes to “clients” or “those in need”. While that serves its purpose, these models show what can be done when faithful people decide instead to build relationships with their neighbors, combining forces to tackle community problems together.
    Hope you are doing well. It’s been way too long!!
    Lisa Hollingsworth Vaughn