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Posts tagged ‘Partners’

Lunch & Learn Recap


At Tuesday’s Lunch & Learn we had the opportunity to hear from Robert (T-Ray) Manly from the Dallas Leadership Foundation.  During his talk, T-Ray shared with us how the Dallas Leadership Foundation has helped many neighborhoods across Dallas organize and build their capacity to create change.  The following are some of the highlights of the presentation:

How is DLF involved in neighborhoods?

Dallas Leadership Foundation operates in three three core areas: Neighborhood Revitalization, a Youth Leadership Movement, and Prison Collaboration.  All are focused on gospel-centered, common good transformation.

Why is the area of Neighborhood Revitalization critical to Dallas?

One primary reason is the future of our kids.  Neighborhood insecurity takes a toll on our children, and makes Dallas a difficult place for children to grow up and receive a quality education.  This perpetuates the cycle of lack of hope and well-being in our neighborhoods.  T-Ray cited these statistics on children in Dallas*:

  • Only 4% of high school seniors read at a 12th grade standard; only 1% compete in mathematics at a 12th grade standard
  • Just 42% students Dallas County are reading at or above grade level in the third grade (a key age indicator for determining future educational success)
  • Texas ranks next to last among states for hunger and child hunger
  • 29.3% of children in Dallas County (more than 190,000 total) live in families below the federal income poverty level.

*Greater Dallas Movement Day: Why Now? Fact Sheet

What learning has DLF developed to help come alongside neighborhoods that are seeking change?

One of the key ways that DLF serves is by helping identify neighborhood leaders and helping their creation of a Neighborhood Plan.  DLF invests a significant amount of time in identifying and empowering local leaders because, “Those closest to the problem are closest to the solution.”

Characteristics of a neighborhood leader:

  • Has direction and vision
  • Keeps everything organized
  • Possesses the ability to motivate others
  • Builds on assets and addresses deficiencies
  • Includes everyone in the neighborhood
  • Knows how to get things done

As neighborhood leaders emerge, they become responsible for forming a leadership team that helps others become involved, shapes the organization and launches projects, and actively trains and empowers replacements to take leadership roles after them.  This establishes continuity and continued momentum for future neighborhood transformation.

Additionally, creating a Neighborhood Plan gives communities the opportunity to tell the story of their neighborhood, identify the assets and the needs present, and thoughtfully discuss how to move forward.

What are they keys for the early stages of neighborhood transformation?

Beyond identifying key leaders and stakeholders who will form a leadership team, those involved in the process should:

  • Determine jointly what areas encompass your neighborhood.  You must be able to define your boundaries in order to address the needs.
  • Begin with listening. Give people plenty of time and space to express what they’re seeing in the neighborhood.
  • Focus on the positive, but address the negative by asking, “What do we have to work with?”
  • Get everyone involved
  • Make a list of what needs to be done, and share progress with the group
  • Give yourself a few early wins, and don’t overwhelm the group with too many tasks at the beginning

In one example of how listening and a small win that led to a big impact, T-Ray shared that in a neighborhood they were partnering with, there was a nice local park that seemed to be underutilized.  When talking with a mother of young kids who lived across the street from the park, it became clear that parents resisted letting their kids visit the park because of dangerously fast traffic on the surrounding roads.  The neighborhood worked with DLF to petition for the installation of speed-bumps around the park, and the area is now a more popular and safe destination for local residents.

For those interested in starting small with neighborhood collaboration, consider joining an online neighborhood resource like, which provides an informal but effective way to begin connecting with neighbors, and discussing the needs and assets of your neighborhood.

As BODY continues looking for ways to mobilize the Church for the well-being of Oak Cliff, let us know how these topics are resonating with you, and of other potential partners like Dallas Leadership Foundation who can help make community transformation a reality.

DLF Lunch & Learn Presentation


Lunch & Learn: Developing Neighborhood Leadership

Be A Part Of Loving Oak Cliff

As a follow-up to our Fall 2013 Neighboring series, join us on Tuesday, March 4, at BODY’s bimonthly Lunch & Learn meeting.

The power of neighboring goes far beyond friendly get-togethers and barbecues. Join us as we continue learning how to strengthen Oak Cliff by coming alongside those already at work in our neighborhoods and helping develop new community leaders.

Our speaker, Robert (T-Ray) Manly, Neighborhood and Community Development Director for the Dallas Leadership Foundation (, will share the methods DLF has developed to equip grassroots leadership that lead to real community transformation.

Learn more how the church can catalyze this latent capacity in our neighborhoods!

11:30am-12noon – Lunch (bring a brown-bag) | 12 noon – 1pm – Neighborhood Presentation & Discusison

Location: Christ Episcopal Church (534 West Tenth Street, 75208)

March L&L Flyer

Giving Thanks for the Body of Christ in Oak Cliff!

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

– Colossians 3:15


As we approach Thanksgiving, I give thanks for God’s people and the congregations of Oak Cliff.  I am grateful… 

Now you personally may not have had as many brushes with the congregations of our neighborhood.  However, we all benefit from the work and witness of these churches.  Through the collective work of the Oak Cliff body of Christ, the discouraged receive hope, the hungry are feed, the sick are cared for, and the good news of Jesus goes forth!

Therefore, I invite you to the 6th Annual Oak Cliff Community-Wide Thanksgiving Service.  We gather this Sunday evening, November 17, at Cliff Temple Baptist Church (125 Sunset Avenue).  We’ll join together in worship, listening to God’s word, and celebrating what God is doing among and through the Church of Oak Cliff!

Spread the word, invite a friend, and give thanks for the body of Christ in Oak Cliff!

 Thanksgiving Promo 2013

Guest Post: “The Second is Like It”

Several Oak Cliff congregations are participating in BODY’s Fall Neighboring Initiative. Dr. Brent McDougal, pastor of Cliff Temple, has been preaching on the topic. This post is used with Brent’t permission from his column in Cliff Notes, Cliff Temple’s newsletter.]

We’re focusing the next several weeks on the call to love our neighbors and how to build genuine relationships with people right outside our doors. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he responded by saying, “The greatest commandment is this: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. And the second greatest commandment is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:27; Mark 12:30) It’s like it because when your heart is truly filled with love for God and God’s love for you, you’re going to also love your neighbor; and when you love your neighbor, you’ll also be showing your love for God.

If everyone took this teaching on its face, and every day sought to practice these two things ‐ loving God with everything you have, and loving your actual neighbors ‐ then how would the world be different?

“Who is my neighbor?” That was the question that the lawyer asked Jesus before he told the story of the Good Samaritan. Often the teaching of that story is understood to be, “Everyone is my neighbor,” whether it’s my friend or the person on the side of the road. If someone is in need, they are my neighbor. So, that means the people across town, at the courthouse, even in a country far from home. Everybody’s my neighbor. But if we think we’re neighbors with everyone, we often end up being a neighbor to no one.

When Jesus told people to love their neighbor, he wasn’t speaking in the abstract. He was talking about the people nearest to you. Real people with real names ‐ those are your neighbors. And Jesus says in words that are completely clear: you’re called to love your neighbor as yourself.

So, for the next several weeks, get specific. (Remember the line from a few sermons ago. Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. In other words, nothing takes on life or has real meaning until it becomes a specific action.) In worship this past Sunday, we gave out refrigerator magnets to help you get to know the eight next neighbors nearest your home, on your block, or in your building. We asked the congregation to find out 1) the names of their neighbors, 2) one fact about them (job, interest, etc.), and 3) one “deeper” fact about them (a hope, a dream, a fear, etc.). This involves doing something specific to learn about your neighbors. Knock on their door and introduce yourself. Invite someone to share a meal. Try to be present when others are walking or working in the neighborhood, looking for ways to have a conversation. Don’t go after the hopes, dreams, and fears immediately; remember that those things are shared as a gift, and trust takes time to develop.

When you love your neighbor, you’ll be loving God; and when the love of the Father is truly in you, you’ll want to love your neighbors. I look forward to hearing your stories about connecting with your neighbors.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

‐ Dr. Brent McDougal

Mental Illness and The Church

With the recent death of Pastor Rick Warren’s son, mental illness has been in the news. As a high profile Christian leader, the tragedy has sparked debate in the public forum about our care for the mentally ill. It’s good to see such an important issue discussed, awareness raised, and stigma confronted – just not under such heart wrenching circumstances!

Unfortunately, some of the response, especially among professing Christians, has been quite sickening. Judgment, condemnation, and ignorance has trumped mercy, love, and wisdom. It should not be so!

Therefore, this past Tuesday, BODY hosted a previously planned Lunch & Learn forum on mental illness. Joshua Pulis, Program Director at the Well Community, lead a great session on understanding mental illness and how the Church can compassionately reach out to those suffering. Follow BODY’s blog over the next few weeks as we put out some additional resources on this issue (tag = “Mental Illness”).

Until then, keep on praying for the Warren’s. May greater understanding and compassion for those suffering under the burden of mental illness flourish among God’s people!

Lunch & Learn: Mental Health 101

Mental illness affects everyone, impacting the lives of at least 1 in 4 adults in our community.

People living with mental illness need our help and hope.

the Well Community provides just that, serving as Dallas’ only ministry focusing exclusively on low-income people suffering with mental illness.

Joshua Pulis, Program Director & Worship Leader at the Well, will be sharing how you too can serve those suffering from serious mental illness.

Tuesday, April 09 | Noon – 1:00PM

Hampton-Illinois Branch Library

[NOTE: Back to our normal venue!]

04.09.13 - Lunch & Learn (MentalHealth101) image