What Does Your Community Have to Offer?

In the past few  posts, I’ve been sharing some ideas that could help people connect more deeply with their neighbors and root in the place God has planted them. I have been using the acrostic ROOT: Relate to everyone; Openness to the reality of your place and the presence of the Holy Spirit; Organize around existing assets; Trust God. You’ll find previous blogs in this series here.

In this post, let’s take a close look at the second “O.” What does it mean to organize around existing assets? Recently, my wife, Iris, and I participated in a workshop called “Amateur Asset Mapping." In it, we were asked to list our assets in four categories: Physical Infrastructure, Personal Skills, Associations We Belong To, and Financial Resources. As a group, we wrote these categories on Post-It notes and stuck them on the wall.

  • Under infrastructure, I listed such things as our house with extra bedrooms, our barbecue, color printer, and backyard.
  • Personal skills included speaking, jogging, backpacking, computer skills, and writing.
  • My associations included the Seattle Public Library, The Navigators, Japanese Presbyterian Church, NW African American Museum, Neighborhood Watch, and World Relief.
  • Financial Resources included some savings and a bit of discretionary income. 
As I wrote these on the appropriately colored cards, our fellow workshop attendees did the same. As we stepped back and examined what we had posted on the wall, a picture started to come together of the wealth of assets available to us. I was overwhelmed with how wealthy a group of about 30 people could be!

We then broke up into groups of four and were handed a random card from each list. Each group was asked to come up with a neighborhood improvement project from the assets listed on the four cards.
The assets in your community would probably amaze you if you knew of them. How does one get to know what your community has to offer? First, you get to know the assests by getting to know your neighbors. Next, you ask them what they are good at. Iris and I intend to try this exercise with our neighbors at our next barbecue. I’m really excited about what this might unlock.
In Old Testament times, when Nehemiah set out to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he first took stock of the assets. Nehemiah brought wood and leadership to the table. All of the other resources needed to rebuild the wall were already there. Pondering the assets in your community just might surprise you!

Are you connecting with the tremendous resources God has put in your relational network? If this is a new idea to you, as it was to many of us in our workshop, what might be your next step in becoming familiar with the assets your community has to offer?

Al Engler serves as director of Nav Neighbors, a Mission of The Navigators. You can learn more about the Englers' Navigator ministry or email Al here.