In this short Q&A, author Mark DeYmaz talks about Real Community Transformation.
What is Real Community Transformation about?
Many pastors and ministry leaders desire to impact their communities for Christ through compassionate ministry and/or pursuit of social justice. Often the problem they face, however, is knowing where and how to focus their efforts or, more specifically, what it takes to do so beyond simply preaching the Gospel. Real Community Transformation provides pastors with a proven model for community engagement in order to realize measurable results. More importantly, it provides a template to help pastors consider their context, develop a holistic approach, and advance the Kingdom along spiritual, social and financial fronts.
What do you hope leaders will learn from this Leadia experience?
Through Real Community Transformation ministry leaders will learn how to get beyond rhetoric (good intentions) to results for the good of the whole community and, ultimately, for the glory of God. I hope to help them lead their churches to become bright lights in the public square, recognized and appreciated by Christians and non-Christians alike. I hope they will come to understand how to proclaim the Gospel (good news) in more than individual terms; in other words, how to bring good news to entire communities. And I hope to help them advance a more credible witness of God's love for all people in an increasingly cynical society.
What do you mean by wanting to help leaders get beyond rhetoric to results?
How many times have we heard well-meaning pastors proclaim to their people, “We can change the world!”, or “We're going to take this city for Christ!?” These are inspiring statements, but the question remains: have you ever seen this happen? We should recognize that actions such as simply starting a church, being missional, or opining for social justice do not bring about Real Community Transformation on their own. The goals for us as church planters, pastors, and ministry leaders should not only include leading people to Christ, but improving quality of life, restoring local hope, and engendering the goodwill of entire communities in real and tangible (measurable) ways, all for the glory of God.
What's one real-life example of transformation you've witnessed since Mosaic moved into the Little Rock, AR, community?
In 2004, Mosaic began renting 80,000 sq. ft. of abandoned space (a former Walmart) for the amazingly low price of $666 a month, a price indicative of its poor condition. The roof not only leaked, it poured. Animals roamed freely throughout the building and above us in the ceilings. Cats, rats, squirrels and possums, required us to hire a professional trapper to chase them down. Beyond that, those worshipping with us each week kept getting bitten by fleas! Patiently and persistently, we cleaned up the place. We painted the walls, replaced the carpet, and hung our sign. Having sat empty for eight long years, the parking lot soon teemed again with activity. Due in large part to our efforts, three new businesses have been attracted to the space that we now share with them, creating jobs and tax revenue for the city. More than that, whereas before, the parking lot of this building had been a gathering place for addicts, prostitutes, and criminals, the potential for crime has been greatly reduced by our simple investment. No longer are cars parking on the lot late at night to shoot up, burn out, and show off. In fact over an eight-year period (2004-2011) throughout which we occupied the facility, crime was reduced by 10% within a one-mile square radius of the church; a significant fact because the collective address ranks number one in incidents of (reported) crime in the city of Little Rock since 2006.
Which video from Real Community Transformation is your favorite, and why?
Personally, I love this video of Michael Stacker, one of our homeless members, who describes not only what Mosaic means to him and his friends, but to the entire homeless community just outside our doors.
Mark DeYmaz has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. In 2001, he planted the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas where he continues to serve as the Directional Leader. A recognized leader in the emerging Multi-ethnic Church Movement, Mark has written three books on the subject including, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church, chosen as a finalist for a Christianity Today Book of the Year Award (2008) and for a Resource of the Year Award (2008) sponsored by Outreach Magazine. His other books include Ethnic Blends: Mixing Diversity Into Your Local Church and Should Pastors Accept or Reject the Homogeneous Unit Principle? In addition, Mark writes a regular column for Outreach Magazine and he is a contributing editor for Leadership Journal. His wife, Linda, is also the author of two books, including Mommy, Please Don’t Cry, a Retailer’s Choice Award Nominee (2005), and anointed resource providing hope and comfort for parents who grieve the loss of a child. In 2005, Mark co-founded the Mosaix Global Network and currently serves as its President. A former member of Little Rock’s Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission he established Vine and Village, a 501c3 focused on improving the quality of life for people living in the city’s 72204.