The benefits of starting with strengths (from the Surrender and 4D Conferences)

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On Friday I ran a small workshop at the Adelaide Surrender Conference and then on Saturday I ran it again with a larger group at the SA Baptist Churches annual 4D conference.

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Looking at a fictional town we did independent maps/exegesis of the needs and asset of the community.  Sharing these with one another, we considered how using these different approaches might affect the approach we took.  For example both groups determined that a needs map is far more likely to elicit a programmatic approach and the provision of external resources.

In his book Toxic Charity Robert Lupton’s research concludes that:

Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people

By comparison participants at the 4D conference offered the following comments on the difference taking an asset based approach makes:

•It empowers people
•It recognises people as experts in their own lives
•It celebrates people
•It doesn’t jump in with programs to meet needs
•It gets the people in need helping to create the solution
•It is loving of others
•It begins with curiosity, questions and listening
•It starts where you are
•It uses strengths and gifts
•It invites people to contribute
•It puts relationships first
•It is not reliant on dollars
•It promotes joy

Do you agree?  What else would you add to this list?

Thanks to all who participated both at Surrender and 4D.  I really enjoyed working with you.

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