A Leader’s Flexibility

By Dallas Baptist University PhD Student, Mark Cook.  Mark serves DBU and Denison Forum on Truth and Culture as the Program Coordinator for the Institute for Global Engagement.  

Leadership principles are often declared as self-evident truths that always work. These truths are enumerated, often with an illustration of their effectiveness in the life and practice of the author. While many of these leadership principles are, prima facie, true, there are a host of leadership principles that need to be parsed in more detail to elucidate when they might be useful and when they might be ill-advised, or, even, harmful.

Such a leadership principle is that leaders need to be flexible. Often espoused as an incontrovertible maxim in the ever-changing cultural and sociological landscape of contemporary life, flexibility is, when closely examined, something worth more than cursory attention.

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A Poignant Conversation on Race

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Author Kim Cash Tate has an interesting conversation with a five year-old white girl about race. We thought it was worth sharing with you. May we continue to see the value placed in all of us by our Creator.

A Conversation with a Five Year-Old White Girl on Race

 

 

Urban Farm in South Dallas Offers Food Security

 

BontonBlog1Last month, Jana Jackson (3rd from left) and the faith action team from Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions visited Bonton Farms in South Dallas to learn more about urban farming first hand. Jana is the director of family and community ministries for Dallas Baptist Association and leads the Hunger Track for MDGD.

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The small farm grows vegetables, raises chickens, turkeys and goats.

 

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Neighbors are employed by the farm, who also enjoy help from neighborhood children.BontonBlog4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jana answers two key questions related to food insecurity in our area.

Are there truly hungry people in Dallas?

In Dallas County, 1 in 5 people are food insecure. That means more than 400,000 of our neighbors lack consistent access to healthy food. Food insecurity rates are highest in families headed by single mothers and families with annual household incomes of $43,000 or less.

Although food insecurity is most common among families with children, the number of food insecure adults age 50 or older is rising rapidly. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of hungry seniors increased by 40 percent.

The consequences of food insecurity are many. Kindergartners who experience food insecurity learn less than their peers in school. Elementary school students who are food insecure typically have lower math scores and difficulty with peer relationships. Teens experiencing food insecurity are suspended from school more often than food-secure students. Food insecure women are at greater risk for depression. Sometimes seniors on fixed incomes must choose between paying for medications or purchasing healthy food.

As dreadful as these consequences of hunger are, the most compelling call to action for followers of Jesus is that he commands us to feed hungry people: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in” (Matthew 25:35). Sharing food with our neighbors is not optional.

Moreover, God tells us that feeding the hungry is an act of worship: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke. . . .Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter?” (Isaiah 58: 6-7). When we worship God by sharing food, shelter, and clothing, our “light[s] will break forth like the dawn” and the Lord will hear our own cries for help (Isaiah 58:8).

BontonBlog5How Can We Answer the Call?

Feeding hungry people is both an act of obedience and worship for the Church. Thankfully, God provides us with many creative resources to do this. To start, DBA churches can participate in one-time food drives like the Souper Bowl of Caring, or they can participate in a Day of Caring with the VNA’s Meals on Wheels. As God calls people to respond to food insecurity on a more consistent basis, churches can provide teams to serve organizations that deliver nutritious food to homebound senior adults and persons with disabilities. They can participate in feeding children through a summer meals programs, or teach young moms how to cook. Finally, they can provide resources for neighbors to grow their own food through community and container gardens.

Additionally, DBA churches answering the call to improve food security in our city benefit from DBA’s partnership with the Dallas Coalition for Hunger Solutions, Movement Day Greater Dallas, and Unite. These collaborative initiatives multiply our impact and show us new, innovative approaches to improving access to healthy food. Working together, we can all make significant progress in reducing hunger in our city.

 

 

Stories From My City

Stories fromMark Brown Head shots-1050 My City is a feature by Dr. Mark A. Brown, Executive Vice-President of Movement Day Greater Dallas designed to highlight leaders of influence in the Greater Dallas area.

Today, Mark interviews Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew, National Community Engagement Director for World Vision, U.S. Programs.

Froswa pic 2Current position held: 2 years

Favorite food: Pineapple Fried Rice—Thai food rocks!

Favorite verse: “It’s hard to name one, but Psalm 37 has been special since I was a young girl.”

Favorite vacation spot: Maui and Nassau

What’s your history with MDGD? When and why did you get involved?

I got involved because of Sue Sullins. We were hosting a screening of the documentary, Friendly Captivity at the South Dallas Cultural Center. Mac was in the audience and Sue said I had to meet him. He told me his plan for bringing Movement Day to Dallas and initially, I was not moved. I had seen so many initiatives come to Dallas with hopes of bringing reconciliation and assistance to South Dallas, and I didn’t know how this was going to be any different. Yet, after our two hour conversation, his heart convinced me. I wanted to be a part and committed to doing whatever necessary to make it happen here. I remember the beginning conversations and meetings to make this vision a reality.

What was your initial impressions of MDGD early on and now?

I knew it was successful in New York, but I wasn’t really sure how it would work in Dallas considering our context and dynamics are so different. I was impressed that Mac was intentional in making sure that it was inclusive, diverse and that residents were involved in the decision making and planning. I am so proud of how the event has expanded. In two years, we have grown in visibility, attendance, and even the desire to move the needle to demonstrate tangible outcomes is so much greater in such a short amount of time. I am biased because of my involvement and to see so many of the tracks continuing beyond the event is absolutely incredible!

How and why is your organization important to MDGD?

World Vision has been such a part of the Movement Day in New York, and we are elated to support the Dallas event. Rafael Munoz, Engagement Officer, is the leader of the Immigrant Care Track. Bemnet Meshesha, Administrative Coordinator, supports the event and especially the Youth Track with me. Our warehouse team was responsible for the kit build—Gilbert Young, Ingra Green, Randall Bruggink, Tino Rodriguez and even our National Disaster Response Director, Phyllis Freeman was involved! For World Vision, this is important. We want to support this Christian event that is committed to community transformation as well as engaging with individuals and organizations that we can partner with and serve in our local area. Our Vice President of US Programs, Romanita Hairston, was in town for the Dallas event and was a keynote at the New York event so as you can tell, World Vision is extremely supportive and engaged with Movement Day!

How many churches are involved with your organization?

We partner with a number of organizations, churches, ministries, and schools throughout the DFW area as well as in our sites across the country. In the DFW area, there are more than 200 organizations and schools that are a part of our work.

What are the goals of your organization? 5 year goals?

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. There are goals that we have for the various divisions of our work and for each of our teams. For my team of engagement officers, we have a national five year strategy that is designed to build the capacity of youth-serving, partner organizations by building their social and human capital through our convenings, trainings, and our portfolio of resources that ultimately provide support to child well-being and contribute to community transformation.

Where do you see your organization in DFW & Nationally going? What’s the future look like?

I am elated by the work! We are growing our partners both locally and nationally. I have been blessed to conduct our partnership training for organizations around the country and the response has been overwhelmingly positive! Many of our organizations are small to mid-sized nonprofits and ministries who do not have many resources and to equip them with an understanding of concepts such as collective impact, social capital, social capacity and network theory in a way that they can understand and apply it to their work has been so rewarding! There is so much that we offer in communities. In addition to the training, we provide:

  • The Youth Empowerment Institutes , a two day intensive, which are provided around the country to youth-serving organizations,
  • The Gifts In Kind product including our Teacher Resource Center for Title One Schools offering school supplies and our Building Materials Program
  • Missions work in Appalachia, Dallas, and Chicago
  • Disaster Preparedness and Response work in communities distributing building supplies, clothing, and other resources such as food and hygiene kits.

What are some of your needs?

World Vision needs Child Champions. These are individuals that commit to providing a monthly gift to support our work and organizations that serve youth through small grants. We also need volunteers at our local warehouse to support with sorting product for teachers and nonprofit organizations.

Love In Motion

Tiny Local Church Serving 7 DISD Schools Every Month          Is Example for Others

Encouragement for Under-appreciated Teachers Putting Wind in Their Sails

Pastor Pollo Corral is busy these days leading a church start-up called “Love in Motion.” press release - 2015-07 Love in MotionBut this is no ordinary little church. He and his congregation are going above and beyond to actively love their neighbors, shine a light, and share kindness within their community. A few years ago, Love in Motion approached DISD with a proposal: they wanted to show appreciation for the faculty and staff of one of their schools. At first doubtful, DISD passed along a few names. Now, this tiny church is serving 7 schools, and the requests keep flooding in.

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Under-served Children Receive Hope

RebeccaWallsMovement Day Greater Dallas Partner, UNITE, Puts Collaboration to Work

A Q&A with Rebecca Walls, Executive Director of UNITE

Q. Rebecca, first tell us about Unite? When was it started?

A. Since 2009 Unite has been helping Christians across Greater Dallas collectively make the biggest possible impact on the community by supporting coordination and collaboration between churches, nonprofits, and others. I started this ministry after moving back home from Atlanta. I had been part of something similar with churches of all denominations, races, and sizes working together. After only a few months of being back, I found a small group of wonderful, well-known churches who had just started talking about “What would it look like for us to work together in the community?” God had brought everything together at just the right time, and today we have a network of around 500 diverse churches and nonprofits.

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Prison Break

 

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There used to be a show on TV called Prison Break.  It was a fictional account of people in prison who were planning to break out.  I recently had the opportunity to work with a bunch of people who had been to prison, served their time, and now they just needed a break.

Can you imagine coming out of prison knowing you had served your time, but you had no job (Who is going to hire you….a felon?), you had no place to stay, no car, no money, and in some cases, no family to help you? How in the world do you get a break with those odds?  Is it any wonder that the rate of repeat offenders is so high? It was an eye opener to me.

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Hope for Every Child

Churches, Organizations, Police & Others Working Together in Lake Highlands

Bringing hope to hundreds of low-income children and families

(Please see the end of the post to see how YOU can help.)

classroomThis summer several churches and organizations are banding together to engage low-income youth in Lake Highlands. Two years ago, the Police Department was introduced to Unite and so they could help bring together some people to build relationships with youth in certain apartment complexes.

“We work with children in grades K-8, however there are many other students who need help and support in the apartment communities we serve,” says Diana Baker, Executive Director of Kids-U. “My first thought was to turn to Unite to find help for the other children in the community.”

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Stories From My City

Mark Brown Head shots-1050Stories from My City is a feature by Dr. Mark A. Brown, Executive Vice-President of Movement Day Greater Dallas designed to highlight leaders of influence in the Greater Dallas area.

 

Today, Mark interviews Jana Jackson, Director of Family & Community Ministries at Dallas Baptist Association. Jana also serves as the track leader for the MDGD Hunger Track.

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Current position held: 20 years

Favorite food: Peach Cobbler

Favorite verse: “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Favorite vacation spot: Indian Lodge, Davis Mountains State Park

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