Community Restoration is used at LifeSpring in the sense of strategic, collaborative efforts to bring transformation locally to what is broken—individual lives, families, neighborhoods, and whole communities.
This is distinguished from outreach (intentional, proactive efforts to reach out to people in our communities who are not following Jesus and/or connected to a local church) and missions (intentionally crossing cultural, geographical or socio-economic barriers to share Jesus in word and deed for the purpose of making disciples).
Community restoration is wholistic. It involves right relationships with God, self, others, and the created world. Both individual people and social systems are broken and need restored. Poverty is not just the problem, it’s a symptom.
We are called to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18). In order to bring reconciliation to others, we need to first recognize and repent of our own brokenness.
Christ’s love compels us. We seek to separate the problem from the person.
We begin individual and community assessment with assets not needs. All communities, including poverty neighborhoods, have unrecognized assets. Focusing on problems causes us to overlook potential. We want to empower others to be good stewards of the gifts and talents God has given them.
We focus more on “people and process” than “project and product.” Lasting change comes through long-term relationships, so we focus ministry programs and partnerships on time and relationship more than money.
We need to listen to and learn from those we serve. We both have things to teach each other as we work together. Change happens “with” not “to” or “for” the poor.
We seek to avoid paternalism. Doing things for people that they can do for themselves creates dependency and entitlement, which perpetuates the problem.
We pursue the best strategy for the need at hand:
Relief = “stop the bleeding.”
Rehabilitation = working together to restore the pre-crisis stage.
Development = “teaching how to fish” vs. “giving a fish,” enabling others to make changes.
In order to be effective, relief should be:
We are prepared to say "no" to requests
We reject the “savior complex.” People need to participate in their own recovery process. We can’t fix them from the outside.
We focus on people most receptive to change. It is poor stewardship to try to help people who aren't wanting or ready for change.
LifeSpring Community Christian Church
803 E. Broadway St. | Harrison, OH 45030Corner of Harrison and Broadway