While at the Inhabit Conference this spring, I attended a workshop on Asset Mapping. Just five minutes in, I knew I'd be doing this with the Urban Mission Center. I've read a number of books and attended a few workshops about asset mapping, but nothing really grabbed my attention. The activity, led by John and Kate Pattison, was interactive and appealing. It was something I knew we could do with our community.
I've found that so often in ministry we get stuck in the scarcity or victim mindset. If only we had more leaders, more money, more resources - I'm sure you can all relate. By looking at assets, we're able to move away from the scarcity mentality, and move into a posture of gratitude.
The whole idea of asset mapping is to recognize the assets (strengths, passions, networks, and possessions) of your group, and work to connect them in order to get things done. So that's exactly what we did. We began by listing the assets represented in our community, one by one, and posting them by category. This activity alone will bring a spirit of gratitude to your community!
Once all the assets are listed, we began making connections. How can we use what we already have to make an impact in our neighborhood? One of my favorite ideas was for a project called "The Untold Story." What if we connected some of our Harbor Light guys with creatives on Cherokee St. to help them share their stories with the community? It might help bring together populations that don't normally cross paths, deepening the sense of community in our neighborhood.
If you'd like the Urban Mission Center to walk your community through the process, please do not hesitate to ask! We are really pleased with the tool and we believe it would be helpful for any community/congregation, large or small. Click here to contact us.