Think about the service clubs, the community agencies, the churches and institutions that help make life better in your neighbourhood. How did these groups come to exist? For all the diversity that is represented in the non-profit world, the way our social institutions and agencies took shape is actually quite simple:
People, gathering together, listening to each other, working together to plan and support healthier, more vibrant communities in which to live.
As time goes by, the institutions, service clubs, agencies, and churches in our communities have become familiar, stable assets that help strengthen neighbourhoods and improve people’s lives in a number of ways. But as we all know, people and lifestyles change, evolve.
Our community institutions must change and evolve as well, in order to remain relevant.
There are many resources available to help community institutions and faith based groups manage change. The challenge is, there aren’t many approaches that begin by really listening to and honouring the stories, the legacy behind what our community institutions have done, and why the people who are part of our churches, service clubs, and community agencies believe they matter.
We believe that the best way to plan for the future, is to take time to listen:
- Listen to the stories that are important to each of us, to the faith groups and community groups of which we’re part;
- Listen as well to the stories, hopes, and concerns of the communities around us;
- Listen to what knowledgeable professionals tell us about how best to steward our clients’ land and capital resources;
- And listen to find ways to connect all of this together, to create renewed places, purpose, and vitality for people and organizations contributing to community well-being.