House parties are an ideal venue for coaching champions; hence why Mission Increase Foundation devoted its January workshops and February labs to the subject. (If you missed ’em, my Colorado Springs workshop will be available on DVD soon.)
Mission Increase awards a Transformational Giving Implementation Award to the best homework submission from each office for each workshop/lab cycle. The house party award winner for SoCal, Pomona Hope, was my personal favorite of all the submissions. Let’s take a look at how they’re utilizing house parties to coach champions at all levels of their organization.
Who are these guys?
First, note how TG-compatible the organization itself is:
Pomona Hope began as a conversation. One evening a group of Pomona residents gathered to discuss the many deep problems and staggering challenges facing the city. People shared about the broad issues facing Pomona such as the widespread poverty, the decades of gang violence and drug abuse, and the palpable sense of despair that seems to loom over the city. Others shared more personally about friends and neighbors whose lives they have seen scarred by drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and by gang involvement.
Eventually, the conversation turned to the question: “What are we going to do about it?” Pomona Hope is our answer to that question.
Here’s the cool thing: This is not an organization supported by champions. This is a network of champions organizing to tackle the cause of, in their words, ‘Engaging the community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ [as] the essential and binding element necessary for true community transformation.’
Much easier to do TG when your organization is TG from the DNA on up.
So what’s the party?
A city tour. Most people avoid the area that Pomona Hope works in. The neighborhood is not a pleasant place to be, full of vagrants, prostitutes, closed businesses and run down homes. But the city of Pomona also has a number of beautiful neighborhoods, promising businesss, and of course incredible people. The experience portion of this house party would involve a scavenger hunt that would take participants into a variety of areas in Pomona, in hopes that they can see the city as a whole, not simply a city to be avoided or forgotten about.
We would also want participants to see the vast discrepancy of resources between the “nice” part of Pomona and the area we minister in. Each team would have at least one Pomona resident who is very familiar with the city to help ensure safety and help with directions. Areas that we would want people to experience would include a typical street near our facility, a family owned restaurant in the neighborhood, a school in an affluent area of the city as well as one of the schools that our children attend, a grocery store in the affluent area of the city as well in our neighborhood, a public park in both areas and a family home in our neighborhood.
Teams would end up coming back to the start location and sharing about the experience, their observations about the city and their feelings. A Pomona resident would take time to share statistics on our target area within Pomona and specific ways we are working to help residents have access to important resources.
So how would you use this party to grow Participants into Engaged champions?
The experiences above would be eye opening to a participant at an E level. Most people involved in our organization are unaware of the wide range of pressures and obstacles that our community residents face daily. Most people try to stay out of the area of the city that our program is located in. Some of our most faithful volunteers are retired educators who work with our youth on academic goals and objectives very successfully, but have less awareness in how to reach the student as a whole person….
The ability to be someone who is empowering another rather than simply providing something in the short term, requires a high degree of understanding in regards to the root causes of an issue. The house parties are one way to explore root causes and what effective responses might be.
Our hope is that an individual engaged in our organization who attends a house party, would develop a genuine love for the population they are working with and the city we are investing in. We hope that every E would consider ways that they can be more holistically involved in the root causes affecting our constituency and that they can understand their investment as part of a greater effort to erradicate large issues of injustice.
And how would you use a party like this to grow Engaged Champions into Owners?
There is an individual on our board who through an effort to identify with the community we are investing in, lives at the national median income level with his family in an apartment in our target area, and chooses to give the rest of the family income away. Many members of our board have chosen to live in Pomona and raise their children in some of the more depressed neighborhoods in the city in order to more directly and holistically identify with and minister to the at risk population that we work with. These are incredible people. What is reflected in them is a profound love for the people in Pomona, and a profound commitment to literally work alongside the disadvantaged of Pomona in hopes of a better life.
Not all of the O’s have embraced this call, nor should they all. But what I do want to see the O’s embrace is a deep investment in the city and the people, and that is largely accomplished by spending time in the city. I would like to see all of the O’s consider new ways to enter into life in Pomona. An O could serve on the Pomona rotary, eat with their friends in the city, attend cultural events offered in Pomona, attend city council meetings, become friends with one of the families we serve. For those who live and work in the city I would like them to consider ways to engage friends that live in surrounding suburbs to spend time in the city; eat in the city with friends, take friends shopping in the city. Help people see the beauty of the city that is worth fighting for as well as the necessity of fighting for it.
My hope is that the house parties would provide a forum for O’s to be reminded of the importance of the cause, see entry points by which they can engage their friends in conversations about and experiences in Pomona, and provide not only additional knowledge but personal testimonies that they can share in the effort to spread our cause in their sphere of influence.
Going to be in the area of Pomona May 16 or 17? Get in touch with Pomona Hope and see if you can drop in on the house party yourself.