Rich Trickel and me  Rich Trickel and me at The City Mission in Cleveland, Ohio

I spoke today at The City Mission in Cleveland, Ohio.  About 100 people from many different churches attended the workshop, “Building Without a Blueprint:  Walking Alongside Others to Transform a City.”   The City Mission acts as the convener for dozens of church leaders who meet together monthly, discussing ways to make a difference in Cleveland.  I was the third speaker in this series encouraging collaboration and partnerships.

The monthly conversations about collaboration are facilitated by Chris and Judy Schenk, of Tinamou Consulting, who work with both for-profits and non-profits.  The Schenks are wonderful people who identify themselves as “architects of change.” 

The City Mission launched their blog today, agreatercleveland.org, and invited the attendees at the conference to use it as a cyber gathering place to announce projects, solicit volunteers, and discuss how they all might work together to make Cleveland a better place.  The City Mission is convening these sessions as a service to other community development agencies, churches, pastors, and non-profits.

Check out the History tab at agreatercleveland.org for the timeline on how these collaborative conversations are progressing.  Also, some great downloads of talks by Dr. John Perkins, Keys to Christian Community Development;  and, Alan Doswald of Fresno, writing about A Case Study in Cooperative Evangelism: The Fresno Model — the story how they gathered prayer warriors to undergird their evangelization efforts in Fresno.  Both are great articles and resources, and I highly recommend them. 

To top off the day, Debbie and I met Pastor Tracy Shoemo and Dr. Richard Koonce of Nehemiah Partners in Sandusky, Ohio.  They gathered 5 churches together to build a community center to “restore unity within the community” in their town of Sandusky.  And, finally, we met Bob Robinson, area director for the Coalition for Christian Outreach.  In his cyber life, Bob blogs at vanguardchurch.com, a leading emerging church blog. 

It was a great day, spent with great folks who are being the presence of Christ in their churches and communities.  Thanks, Rich, for the invitation and opportunity.  Keep up the good work!