Faith and Leadership Blog: John McKnight: Low-income communities are not needy -- they have assets
Most people and institutions that want to serve poor communities are focused on what the residents lack. “What are the needs?” is often the first question asked.
John McKnight says that approach has it backward.
“I knew from being a neighborhood organizer that you could never change people or neighborhoods with the basic proposition that what we need to do is fix them,” he said. “What made for change was communities that believed they had capacities, skills, abilities and could create power when they came together in a community.”
McKnight is co-director of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute and professor emeritus of communications studies and education and social policy at Northwestern University.
He and his longtime colleague John Kretzmann created the asset-based community development (ABCD) strategy for community building. Together they wrote a basic guide to the approach called “Building Communities From the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets.”
McKnight also wrote “The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits” and, with co-author Peter Block, “The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods.” ...
McKnight spoke to Faith & Leadership about asset-based community development and the role the church can play in helping people identify and leverage their strengths to empower their communities. The following is an edited transcript. ...
Excellent piece on a asset-based community development. Read the whole thing. More churches need to learn to think this way.