What Is Hamlets of Hope?
Spotlight on Ministry!
An Ethnographhic Study
Hamlets of Hope: A
Transformational Ministry Model Moving People of Promise from Pulpit and Pew to
consideration of the type of ministry model that would be most effective in
exposing and addressing the need for justice and wholeness, it is important to
reflect on God’s biblical call and the implementation strategy and type of
tools necessary to advance the biblical charge.
Hope is a model that is intended to have systemic impact
on people, place and community. This strategy
encourages long-term change in people, place, practice and proclamation in such
a way that pastor, people and community are energized and engaged in a
reciprocal relationship within community.
As such, believers are not simply satisfied doing outreach, rather they
are compelled to go out, to hang out,
and to stay out and, as circumstances permit, to bring in.
overarching goal of Hamlets
of Hope is aimed at developing community focused, servant disciples, the strategy applied
is a strength-based. The model, is an ‘Asset
Based Community Development’ approach. Developed by John Kretzmann and John Mcknight, suggest there are always
weaknesses and it is easy to identify those, the key is to locate the
strengths. They contend, it can be
overwhelming when the lens is only focused on what is wrong as opposed to what
Hamlets of Hope impacts five
areas as defined below. These areas mirror the example of Jesus Christ as he undertook his earthly
ministry and prepared the disciples for a radical ministry of teaching,
preaching and ‘performing’ the Word. In
this way, they and all disciples are called to continue to spread and enact the
message, mission, and ministry to all people throughout the world. In order to understand
the utility and the areas to be affected by this framework, a general context
is provided. Based on biblical scripture
viewed through the lens of systems change theory the model targeted five areas
of affection to enact the mission, ministry and message of Jesus Christ in
include Commitment, Communication, Climate, Culture, and
Community and serve as zones of influence
where Hamlets of Hope’s signature tools attempted to affect systemic
transformational change and realize results.
Hamlets of Hope as a Community
of Ministerial Practice, [COMP] a transformational, missional
ministry framework was developed and applied to five churches who agreed to
serve as pilot sites. Key to this approach is the
distillation of Scripture. In using this
approach, the incarnate Word of God is understood as the authentic Living Word
that provides a “fresh encounters.”
way, the Word is alive, is hope-filled, and has relevance and application to present day conditions.
the model is applied from the inside out, and from the bottom up; it is not a
top down approach. This strategy allows
ministry to be driven by present conditions in the community. Further, the framework takes on a systemic
focus so that the change is realized throughout; from the pew
and the pulpit to the pavement. Like a
pebble thrown into a pond that ripples outward the impact would flow from the
the model transforms the climate and culture by changing attitudes,
core values, and communication styles including language. These are important elements, central to the
context, culture and climate of a church or faith community. When people undergo this type of conversion,
where people [head, hand and heart] and place are transformed, healing, wholeness and reconciliation
systemically occur and communities are restored.
IMPLICATIONS FOR MINISTRY
the findings of this ethnographic study, it is clear that there are broader
implications for ministry beyond those realized by the five pilot sites.
sermons that are accompanied by a charge.
A charge comes before the benediction and is given to the congregation
instructing them to go and serve. Be
specific, if you need an example Matthew 28 is perfect. We need to understand that people are busy
and they may need a little more direction than we are providing.
Proclamation can be conveyed as metaphor. Every now and then—change
things up, try something new.
Restoration Sunday use chains to illustrate how Jesus set the captives
free. Be creative.
- Let the Youth Speak and Serve! They have something to say and are able to expose a viewpoint that had not been considered and lift up the Gospel message with power, purpose, action and impact---A Word that is theologically sound rather than 'Churchy'.
- Be intentional in the
proclamation and alert to special Sundays like AIDS Day, Breast Cancer
Awareness Month and Restoration & Reentry Sunday.
- Provide opportunities to worship
informally outside the church and see what happens. Utilize the lay-leadership,
youth and seniors to bring a homily or raise an issue of community concern,
like cyber-bullying or suicide. Fold
uncomfortable but very real topics into the worship and ministry menu at your
- Open the doors for youth to
express what they’ve been thinking by encouraging them to develop service opportunities, simulations, scenarios and
Religious Innovation & Entrepreneurs:
- Embrace innovation and don’t be
afraid of it. If you’ve got to come
through the roof to see Jesus and receive a healing, then do it!
- Resist trends for trend sake-When
considering integrating an innovative idea, ask--Is this advancing the Kingdom
or is this about me? There is no need to
have a ‘Hip Hop’ Sunday worship service if all your members are senior citizens
who hate loud music.
Model, Shadow and Coach:
- Perform the Scripture-Model
expected behavior and servant-hood.
- The most educated person is not
always the best person to lead. Take
time or identify people who know how to mentor disciples in ‘doing’
ministry. Just as Jesus did with his disciples
who had many questions, did some good things but along the way made many
- Leave room and grant permission
for people to make mistakes and open the door so they know how to receive
- Create moments within worship,
bible study even auxiliary or board meetings to fellowship, touch, and hug and
- Try a little honey because people
respond through encouragement.
- Adopt practices that convey the ministry of presence, listening and appropriate touch.
- Create more opportunities to ‘connect
the dots’ about what Jesus said the commissioning of the church and the
disciple and what that means for parishioners.
Let’s be open to Micah Moments where we explore what he and other
prophets were preaching about. These
should not be pastor or preacher driven, rather disciple driven.
- Following the morning worship,
offer stop-back sessions or informal ‘boomerang’ reflections to allow members
to ask questions about the sermon and how to apply it. Utilize the three areas of application:
evangelism, stewardship and discipleship to advance the message-making it more relevant and timely.
- Continue and encourage questions regarding ministry
practice and ask the ‘hard questions’-are we still being relevant. For example, If your community no longer has
a large homeless population, but you see a growing number of prostitutes or
youth on the corners, perhaps a shift or expansion in ministries needs to be
considered and quickly implemented.
Partnership and Collaboration:
- Invite, include and embrace Community
members- who are experiencing homelessness, battling addiction or prostitution
to be partners in community change. [Whether members or not].
- Partner with other churches. If one church’s resources can’t sustain a
ministry alone, partner, alternate days, split costs.
- For Pastors-participate in your
church beyond proclamation and bible study---practice MBWS-Ministry by Walking
the Streets. We change heads, hearts and
hands when we are visible doing the ‘hard work’. When disciples see the leadership engaged,
they have no excuse but to roll up their sleeved and join in.
Kretzmann, John P. and John L. McKnight, from
Communities from the Inside Out: A Path toward
Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets, Evanston, IL: Institute for Policy
Research (1993). pp. 1-11,
Gail R., Commentary and reflections:
Gospel of John, New Interpreters Bible-Commentary in twelve volumes,
Vol. 1, Abingdon Press: Nashville, TN, p. 777
Mount Zion United Methodist Church-Magothy, Pasadena, Maryland
is the featured Hamlets of Hope Pilot site for the first quarter of 2013. Changing the way we 'do' ministry is a centerpiece of Hamlets of Hope. Mount Zion United Methodist Church embodies this approach by incorporating their youth in authentic, substantive and prophetic ways.
Our Today and Our Tomorrow...
Through their efforts of feeding the homeless, visiting shelters, and integrating poverty simulators, the youth of Magothy are carrying out the Great Commission by being Matthew 25 disciples to "the least, the lost and the left out" within their community.
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you."
Hamlets of Hope's Poverty Simulator is intended to pull back the curtain on poverty in an 'in your face' manner. The Mount Zion-UMC youth customized this tool and chose to present this simulator to the entire congregation in the nave during a Sunday worship service.
"...Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth."
The strategy attempts to debunk stereotypes and highlight some of the conditions of those who are experiencing poverty, abuse, unemployment, mental health issues, bullying, homelessness and other social challenges. This consciousness raising tool has led the church body to become involved with housing, feeding and relationship building with people who are experiencing homelessness during the winter months.
"...We did not think we could do this...now we know we can and I want us to do this every year..."
Vital Voices of Valor!
Lived Faith-Magothy Youth continue to change heads, hearts and hands as they identify, plan and engage in ministries that target specific social issues that they want to lift up, advocate and impact. In this way they demonstrate that their young voices are just as vital to affect systemic change within their faith community and throughout the world.
"...See, today I appoint you over nations
and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build
and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:6-10 NIV
In December, the entire Magothy Church family welcomed persons experiencing homelessness to break bread, enjoy a warm bed and fellowship. Over thirty youth eagerly teamed, with church members and local volunteers to share God's love-to bless and be blessed.
This was the first time the church had endeavored to do this type of ministry. Partnering with a local non-profit and an area school, MZUMC was able to provide their community family with hot showers, delicious three course meals, spiritual counsel, recreation space to relax, internet access and movies.
[*HoH does not take pictures of our neighbor's without written permission and in cases where confidentiality and anonymity are a concern]
Mount Zion United Methodist Church-Magothy
A Beloved Shalom Community, Pasadena, Maryland
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia
is the featured Hamlets of Hope Pilot site for the month of December because of their consistent commitment to serve and advocate for
their community. This historic church, whose motto is the People's Church
, is located in the downtown section of the City of Richmond referred to as Historic Jackson Ward.
Ebenezerites actively invest in their community through various ministries that serve those who stand 'with their backs up against the wall'. Through ministries such as a clothes closet
, weekly food pantry
and now a thriving evangelism and homeless ministry
EBC disciples faithfully demonstrate Christ's message, mission and ministry of love by establishing authentic relationships with their neighbors, feeding the hungry, being present with and sharing the Word of God with the most needy. Through these efforts, the Holy Spirit is transforming head, heart and hands as they work towards the creation of the Beloved Shalom Community of God
Why Transformational Ministry?
Condition: Some churches and communities of faith are “Spiritually Obese” and “Evangelistically Anorexic” spending significant time doing
“in-reach” rather than outreach, missions, and evangelism.
Moreover, congregational churches are using out-dated modes of ministry to inspire members to be disciples and servants---essentially the faithful are employing a Tape Ministry to reach a DvD and iPad Generation. Subsequently, action oriented, transformational, innovative ministry is diminished.
church is well positioned to be a catalyst of spiritual, economic, and cultural
that leads to a renewed reality and the creation of the Beloved Shalom Community.
In order to do this requires a shift in our
understanding of the disciple’s role---that leads to the "the body" becoming witnesses, vessels , and servants. Hamlets
is about People Development and it's mission is to cultivate “a ministry doing mindset”
faith community ---- moving people from pew and pulpit; to pavement
creating a balance in hearing and doing the Word.
Church, Communities of Faith, and Faith-Based Organizations [FBO’s]
HoH is a Community of Ministerial Practice [COMP]
and a Christian repository of tools to assist
faith practitioners and congregations align their vision, missions and ministerial practices
in order to serve
the local community.
How: HoH's repository
of tools and faith network assists ministry practitioners and
churches align their vision, missions, and ministries by rethinking their approach
- From In-reach to Outreach ministry orientation
- From Program focused to People Development focused
- From Church focused to Kingdom focus
This strategy seeks to grow members into disciples
who embrace and carry out the believer’s charge to serve the least, the lost,
and the left out while fulfilling The
which calls disciples to be Salt and Light
--witnessing and serving communities throughout the
- Are you looking
to be spiritually and evangelistically healthy, vibrant, and fit?
- What are you
doing outside the walls of your church to fulfill the vision, mission, and
goals of your church?
- How are you
cultivating a ‘Doing Ministry’?
- Are you looking to re-energize your disciples, but
lack the tools and the resources to put plans in motion?
but are not limited to:
We hope to
see you again! In Service-Onward and
Upward In Christ!-In Service To God & Humanity-Cheryl Cook, Founder