Introduction to the DVD Course
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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,
* Eastern College, St. Davids and Philadelphia,
Center for Organizational Excellence
Graduate Business Programs
Institute for Urban Studies
School of International Leadership and
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,
* 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.
Staff Development Department
* Youth With A Mission, Colorado Springs, CO.
School of Strategic Missions
Use by Congregations and Community Organizations
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
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
Session 1: "Listening to Your Groans"
Session 2: "God's Plan for Your City or Nation: One Biblical
Session 3: "God's Dream for Humanity Throughout the
Session 4: "What Went Wrong? One Biblical Writer's
Session 5: "What Went Wrong? Seeing A Pattern Throughout
Course 2: What is Jesus Doing to Transform Our World Into God's
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
Course 3: What Is the Job of the Church in Transforming Our
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
Session 5(14): "How About A Church For and With
Session 6(15): "Biblical Strategies for Change We Avoid
Course 4: Where Should A Church Begin in Order to Make A
Session 1(16): "Start With People -- and Building A
Relationship With Them"
Session 2(17): "Jesus on Building Relationships for
Session 3(18): "Building A Church Around Relationships"
Course 5: How Can People and Their Groups Act Powerfully to Make
Session 1(19): "Jesus is Caesar: St. Paul's Surprising
Beliefs About Power"
Session 2(20): "Using Power to Make Change: the Example of
Session 3(21): "How A Church or Organization Can Act
Session 4(22): "Jesus and Moses: Not Always Nice Guys"
Session 5(23): "Making A Difference In Your World: Part
Session 6(24): "Making A Difference In Your World: Part
Course 6: How Can We Bring Christian Values and Leadership Into
Session 1(25): "Developing Leaders: Where It All Needs to
Session 2(26): "Working in the World to Enable the Embrace
of Godly Values"
Session 3(27): "The Spirituality of Making A
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 40½ 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
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
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: