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Introduction to the DVD Course


    "Building A People of Power" is a comprehensive 27-session DVD course, which can be bought as a single unit or as six shorter courses. The course, or significant portions of it, has been taught to over 14,000 pastors, church and community leaders in courses, seminars and pastors conferences and in a number of seminaries, universities and graduate schools. The material has been presented not only in the United States, but in Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, Scotland, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and Zimbabwe. In the U.S., much of the material was refined in four-day workshops developed by Christians Supporting Community Organizing. In addition, national, regional and local faith-based organizing networks and projects have both honed and applauded portions of the body of work. Well tested, the material now has been made into a video course through a partnership of prestigious academic institutions, mission and church agencies.

    "Building A People of Power" seeks to enable Christians and the church to work for substantive systemic change in the world and to articulate a biblical framework as the foundation for such change. It is the intention of Christians Supporting Community Organizing ("CSCO") and the other producers of the course intend that participants in the course will discover: 

(1) a biblical analysis of how their city's or country's economic, political and values-setting systems use their power to either empower or to exploit the poor and middle-class; 

(2) the biblical dream of the "Shalom Community" (or the "reign" or "kingdom of God"); 

(3) biblical principles of how God's people can successfully work both for public justice and personal righteousness; 

(4) biblical models demonstrating how God's people can bring about dramatic transformation of their city's or country's systems and structures, as well as people, through broad-based organizing; 

(5) practical strategies and methodologies of community and broad-based organizing.

   The course places a number of resources this course places at the student's fingertips. The 27 one-hour class sessions on fourteen videos were presented before an actual class taught between January 30 and February 10, 2000 at the School of Strategic Mission in Colorado Springs, CO in the USA. In essence, video viewers are joining in that class -- but from a distance!

    The videos are accompanied by a Student's Workbook, which guides participants through the course. Additional resources in the package are a textbook, Empowering the Poor and a Facilitator's Handbook. Empowering the Poor has won extensive usage in the missions and academic communities, defining a Christian strategy for empowering people (including the church) through the principles of faith-based community organizing. "If I could choose only one book to use in urban ministry, Empowering the Poor would be it", wrote a top executive of the highly-respected Overseas Mission Fellowship. When the course is taken as a group study, the Facilitator's Handbook helps the course leader or "faculty of record" provide leadership to the course. The "Basic Packet" consists of the 14 videos and one copy each of the textbook, the Student's Workbook and the Facilitator's Handbook. Additional copies of the workbook and textbook can be ordered separately.

    "Building A People of Power" is designed for use by three different groups of people. Individual learners can take the course independently and for private study by following the directions in the Student's Workbook. Others will take the course in small groups, viewing the videos together and undertaking the assignments of the workbook in five or fewer small groups. Others will be take the course in a classroom setting where, in essence, the video presenters become your professors. The course works successfully in all three groupings -- individual, small groups or as students in a class.

    The course is designed for use in any of three settings. It is designed for use as distance (non-formal) education, including as approved training for a number of mission agencies, such as Youth With A Mission's School of Strategic Mission and for World Vision International's distance education program (see "Use by Academic Institutions and Mission Agencies" below).

Second, the course is designed for use in academic studies at two levels. Eastern College (St. Davids and Philadelphia, PA.) offers the course in its graduate Economic Development, Business and International programs. Through Eastern, students can take the course directly for graduate-level credit. As listed below in "Use by Academic Institutions and Mission Agencies", the course is also being offered by a number of other academic institutions at either a graduate or undergraduate level.

Third, the video course package provides facilitators with instructions for use by churches, mission agencies, community organizations and other Christian organizations for the benefit of their respective constituencies. For these less intensive or formal uses the course has been divided into six short-term modules of three to six sessions in length, and 45 to 90 minutes in length (see "Use by Congregations and Community Organizations" below). 

    Students moving through the course will discover that the same essential format is used for most (but not all) class sessions. Typically, sessions begin with the presenter "framing" the session and providing basic content. Following these presentations, instructions are given to stop the video. Class participants then turn to the Student's Workbook, following its instructions for that session. Much of that work is inductive Bible study. Students not individually taking the course will work in small groups on the assigned material. Once the assignment is completed and conclusions are drawn, students return to the video. Video course participants then observe the responses of those who took the course in Colorado Springs and hear concluding insights of the professor. Each taped session is about one hour in length. Individual and small group time occupy an additional half-hour.

    Dr. Robert Linthicum, the president of Partners in Urban Transformation, is the principal teacher of this video course. Teaching responsibilities also are assumed by Mrs. Marilyn Stranske and by Mr. Mike Miller. Mrs. Stranske is the national organizer of Christians Supporting Community Organizing, with offices in Denver. She has decades of experience living and ministering in urban settings, both through local congregations and in para-church ministries. Mr. Miller is executive director of ORGANIZE Training Center, San Francisco. He has directed organizing projects for forty years, and has taught community organizing and urban politics at the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University and Notre Dame.

    "Building A People of Power" was developed in 2000 by a consortium of mission agencies, academic institutions and training organizations. The consortium includes:

* Christians Supporting Community Organizing, Denver, CO.

* Eastern College, St. Davids and Philadelphia, PA.

Center for Organizational Excellence

Graduate Business Programs

Institute for Urban Studies

School of International Leadership and Development

Urban Economic Development Program

* The Needmor Fund, Boulder, CO.

* Northeastern Seminary, Rochester, NY

* ORGANIZE Training Center, San Francisco, CA.

* Partners in Urban Transformation, Los Angeles, CA.

* Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, NY

Center for Christian Social Ministry

Masters of Social Work

* Southern California District, the Assemblies of God, Irvine, CA.

* Vanguard University of Southern California, Costa Mesa, CA.

Center for Leadership, Spirituality and Mission

* World Vision International, Monrovia, CA.

MARC Publications

Staff Development Department

* Youth With A Mission, Colorado Springs, CO.

Procla-Media Productions

School of Strategic Missions


Use by Congregations and Community Organizations

    Building a People of Power is designed for use as adult education by a church, religious community, clergy association, a community or broad-based organization or in other informal or voluntary learning situations. The main course is structured in such a way that each session can either be 45 minutes or 90 minutes in length. The video course can then be divided into six short courses for congregational or informal, small group use. Each short course is between three to six sessions long (if you're using the 90 minute format) or six to twelve sessions long (if you're using the 45 minute format). Instructions on how to do that is presented on pages 8-11 of the Facilitator's Handbook. 

Each of the six short courses deals with one basic question which, if answered biblically and experientially, can contribute toward the church or association learning to build themselves into a people of  power, thus enabling them to significantly influence public justice or personal righteousness. Here are the six courses created out of this larger video course:

Course 1: What Are God's Intentions for Our World and What Keeps Going Wrong?

Session 1: "Listening to Your Groans"

Session 2: "God's Plan for Your City or Nation: One Biblical Writer's Vision"

Session 3: "God's Dream for Humanity Throughout the Scripture" 

Session 4: "What Went Wrong? One Biblical Writer's Analysis"

Session 5: "What Went Wrong? Seeing A Pattern Throughout Scripture"

Course 2: What is Jesus Doing to Transform Our World Into God's World?

Session 1(6): "What Was Jesus Seeking to Do? How One Biblical Writer Saw It"

Session 2(7): "What Was Jesus Seeking to Do? Listening to All the Gospels"

Session 3(8): "God Redeems People -- And Even More!"

Session 4(9): "A Belief in Salvation As Big As the City Itself"

Course 3: What Is the Job of the Church in Transforming Our World?

Session 1(10): "What Is the Church Called to Do?"

Session 2(11): "The Church's Call to Mission"

Session 3(12): "The Church's Call to Power"

Session 4(13): "What Nehemiah Can Teach Us About Making A Difference"

Session 5(14): "How About A Church For and With People?"

Session 6(15): "Biblical Strategies for Change We Avoid Today"

Course 4: Where Should A Church Begin in Order to Make A Difference?

Session 1(16): "Start With People -- and Building A Relationship With Them"

Session 2(17): "Jesus on Building Relationships for Change"

Session 3(18): "Building A Church Around Relationships"

Course 5: How Can People and Their Groups Act Powerfully to Make A Difference?

Session 1(19): "Jesus is Caesar: St. Paul's Surprising Beliefs About Power"

Session 2(20): "Using Power to Make Change: the Example of St. Paul"

Session 3(21): "How A Church or Organization Can Act Powerfully"

Session 4(22): "Jesus and Moses: Not Always Nice Guys"

Session 5(23): "Making A Difference In Your World: Part I"

Session 6(24): "Making A Difference In Your World: Part II"

Course 6: How Can We Bring Christian Values and Leadership Into the World? 

Session 1(25): "Developing Leaders: Where It All Needs to Focus"

Session 2(26): "Working in the World to Enable the Embrace of Godly Values"

Session 3(27): "The Spirituality of Making A Difference"

    These short courses can be used in many different settings. A three- or four-session course can be used for a one-day workshop or retreat. The four- to six-session course can be used for a two-day workshop or retreat. These short-term courses will fit neatly into the Sunday/Sabbath or church school schedule of any church. Or these short-term courses could be offered mid-week during midweek events at a local church or community organization.

    Further, the six courses can be "mixed-and-matched", using them over any period of time (even several years). Although the courses follow a natural sequence, that pattern need not be the only one of use. For instance, Course # 6 could be used for the training and stimulation of church or organizational leaders. Course 4 could be used to train church-members or community organization participants on how to call on people in individual (one-on-one) meetings, either within the congregation or in the community. Course 2 could be used with a communicant's class or in a course on the person and work of Christ and the doctrine of salvation. Their order can be tailored to the particular needs of specific groups. Only the initiators' imaginations limit the uses to which this material can be put. The series can become a powerful tool to work for the transformation of a congregation, association or organization into a body of people who can really make a difference in their own worlds and in the world around them.

Use by Academic Institutions and Mission Agencies

     "Building A People of Power" is designed primarily for use in an academic setting and for formal distance learning by a mission agency or a graduate school. The video course of 27 one-hour sessions combined with group and/or individual exercises and small group discussions of about one half-hour each, creates a course of 40 hours, thus meeting the requirements for a three-hour credit graduate level course.

    Offered as a residential course, "Building A People of Power" can either be offered as 27 sessions or, combining two of the sessions into a single three-hour session, it can be offered in 14 sessions (including an introductory session). In order for it t function as a residential course, it would need a faculty or adjunct faculty person who would play the role of the facilitator and the "faculty-of-record". The facilitator would manage the course, including making all assignments, grading all papers, leading the class discussions during the "small group" times, grading a final examination, and assigning grades to students at the end of the course. Most of the teaching of the course would be done through the lectures given on the video.

    As a distance learning course, "Building A People of Power" can be offered in two ways. Individuals can take the course, supervised by the facilitator/faculty-of-record (who might do so from a distance). It also can be offered to a group of students relatively contiguous to each other who could gather for the sessions. This would require a facilitator/faculty-of-record to be present to the students.

    In the Facilitator's Handbook of the video course, a comprehensive design for the use of the course for graduate academic credit is presented. Pages 12-17 lay out the specifics for using the video course to meet graduate academic requirements, and includes a sample syllabus, suggestions for assignments (including a major paper), field work and/or praxis sessions, required and recommended reading, and sample final examinations. 


Endorsements from Users

     Although the video course has only recently been released, it has already been put to use by many academic institutions, mission agencies, churches and community organizations. Here is a sample of responses on its use.

    "This class was life changing. Dr. Linthicum offers a wealth of information on urban ministry that is rarely seen in the "usual" urban teaching models. He uses the Bible to demonstrate how Christians were proactive in society. My life and ministry will be different because I feel empowered as a Christian and equipped as an urban laborer to influence the systems of power that affect the cities." 

Laurie Williams, Student, Urban Economic Develop. Graduate Student, Eastern College

    "The content of this video series has taken years to develop. The biblical scholarship presented has been developed primarily by Dr. Linthicum, but has been honed and enriched by many others who represent various disciplines and ministries. I personally plan to make use of "Building A People of Power" in the classes I teach, and to make it available to other classes for continuing education for pastors. I think this video series is critically needed by our churches because most people -- those who can and would do something to solve the problems -- do not have the kind of perspectives that leads to responsible action in our communities."

David Nellis, Professor, Bay Cities Bible Institute 

    "This course was truly life-changing. I've not only altered my career goals in response to what I learned, but I've also recognized more fully my responsibilities as a Christian to care for and empower my neighbors.

Debbie Gowensmith, Social Worker

    "I want to reiterate how valuable your training sessions have been in "Building A People of Power" to the hundreds of people who have attended them from the DART Network and its fifteen related congregation-based community organizations. You bring two valuable tools to these sessions, your substantial community organizing knowledge and experience and your very well-developed understanding of the justice dimensions of the Bible. Your illustrative stories from your own experience convincingly drive home your points. Most of our leaders, pastors and staff are strongly religious people. You have greatly helped them understand the biblical imperative that justice is an important part of the work of the people of God and that, to do justice work effectively, we need to develop powerful community organizations. Our people leave the "Building A People of Power" sessions more motivated and more able to motivate others."

John A. Calkins, Director, Direct Action and Research Training Center, Miami, FL.

    "In this video course, Dr. Linthicum presents a practical theology that Christians can apply to their everyday lives. This is a theology that can transform the world around us. If Christians would participate in the transfor-mation that Dr. Linthicum explains in this video, we would be recognized as a redeeming force in our world."

Keith Buys, mission worker, USA and Zaire


Pricing and How to Order

Building A People of Power: The Base Package: The base package consists of the fourteen videos featuring 27 class presentations and an introductory session. The base package also includes one copy each of the textbook, the Student's Workbook and the Facilitator's (course leader) Handbook. You may buy the base package or selections by credit card by clicking order now Price: $300.00, plus shipping of $10 - Total $310.00.

All resources can be ordered from:

Christians Supporting Community Organizing

  P.O. Box 60123, Dayton, OH 45406; email: cscocbco@aol.com phone: 508-799-7726


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CSCO, P.O. Box 60123, Dayton, OH 45406; email: cscocbco@aol.com phone: 508-799-7726