Be Transformed: your 2023 Lent course from All We Can
Hear from leaders in the UK and overseas, and be informed on how All We Can and our partners are transforming communities this Lent.
In this blog from Cameron Hume, we learnt:
- The power of changing mindsets
- The importance of Resilient communities for sustainable development
- How the church has been part of the problem
- The huge potential of locally led development
‘Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ – Romans 12:2
Changing mindset – our Lent course
Inspired by the verse above, All We Can’s Lent resource for 2023 is titled ‘Be Transformed.’
This is a line which can be filed under ‘extremely quotable verses which lose their impact through familiarity’. It sits with other such greats as: ‘for I know the plans I have for you,’ ‘perfect love drowns out fear,’ and ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’
I was snapped from my familiarity with these words by encountering the work of All We Can’s partner, Eagles in Southern Malawi. They have helped me clearly see that to achieve transformation – of a person, community, or church – you need to change mindsets.
Hardly a revelatory idea, right? It’s an ancient concept, a biblical concept, and arguably an obvious concept. And yet one that is strangely absent from the development sector.
Victor Mughogho, the Director of Eagles, has repeatedly been frustrated by the neglect with which the mindsets of community members in low-income countries are treated. Charities and agencies come and go, setting up boreholes and irrigation schemes, but so rarely are community members invested in as people. So rarely are they recognised for the local experts they are.
In doing so, the mindset which is implicitly entrenched in communities is “you are reliant on outside help, you cannot create positive change yourself, you cannot transform your community.”
Eagles want to change this mindset. They train churches and communities in problem solving, planning, and resource mobilisation. They shatter the internalised myth that they are incapable of developing their own community.
Victor talks about poverty being incorrectly seen as a hardware problem: If you throw some money, equipment and infrastructure at it then it goes away.
He thinks this is useless unless you also focus on software: Investing in the mindset and skills of people in the community.
I had the privilege of visiting Eagles’ work in Malawi last year and seeing the enthusiasm with which their training is talked about. Almost everyone had a testimony which went something like ‘I never used to think I could do x, but with the training from Eagles I have confidence in my ability to create change for myself.’
It turns out Paul was right; renewing minds is the path towards transformation.
Getting it right in 2023
Once you see it in action, it’s hard not to be frustrated knowing this approach is so rare. Knowing that so much potential is going untapped by traditional approaches.
It’s also hard not to be hopeful because there is a growing movement, not least among All We Can’s supporters who are passionate about locally-led development.
This frustration and hope have been channelled into this year’s Lent resource.
Aptly, Lent is an opportunity for mindset change. A period of transformation, renewal, and intentionality where, like Jesus in the desert, we interrupt our usual rhythms in order to change our perspective and learn something new.
It is for this reason we’re excited to offer you this Lent resource.
Be Transformed takes the principles that underpin All We Can and Eagles’ transformational approach and explores how they look when applied to the communities local churches engage with.
These principles are:
- Practising presence
- Understanding our communities
- Going at the pace of trust
- Shifting the power
- Asking questions, not giving answers
- Changing our mindset
Churches and locally-led development
I am repeatedly surprised by how the issues communities in Malawi wrestle with overlap with issues the Church is wrestling with: Questions of how to do international development effectively and appropriately, overlap with questions of how the church engages with local communities effectively and appropriately.
We have brought together voices from across Methodism. They’re prepared sessions full of:
- Creative bible studies
- Topical prayers
- Relevant challenges.
Sessions grapple with how these principles can inspire and change our mission and evangelism in the local church.
We invite you this Lent to journey with us in exploring these principles, learning about Eagles’ work in Malawi, and – with a bit of help from the Spirit – perhaps even being transformed in the process.
How can I get involved?
Be Transformed is the 2023 Lent course from All We Can.
You can Be Transformed this Lent as you journey with All We Can through this year’s resources.
‘Toeing the line’: Why INGOs Have to do the Heavy Lifting | BOND
Meet our partners: Uganda | All We Can