Tim Harrold and Andy Blakey

ABCD logo jpegOn Thursday 18 April, seminars were held at Orsett Hall on the subject Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD).

The main bulk of the 120 or so delegates were from Thurrock Council, which is of course seeking ways to change its methodologies in this age of austerity in order to establish preventative strategies in the face of the soaring cost of curing all forms of societal malaise.

A smattering of representatives from the faith community were present: namely, Niyi Olujobi of House of Praise, Grays; Andy Blakey of TCF’s SAS Mission Shaped Community, Grays; and Tim Harrold of Transformation Thurrock.

Other Christians were present in their capacities as council employees or change agency stakeholders.

Facilitating the sessions was Cormac Russell of Nurture Development and the ABCD Institute.

This was the second of these events – Andy had been to the first and was inspired by the this quote: “Real leadership is not about getting people to care about what you care about – it’s getting people to care about what they care about enough to do something.”

Andy and Tim believe this notion of asset-connectivity is essential to the way in which church operates and that God is speaking aspects of his desire for community redemption through such means as this. In some respects, the church has always done this stuff; but in other respects, such teachings have a prophetic imperative which the church must take notice of now, for the future.

Just as we must help our communities move from the place of a negative deficit-based downward look to a positive asset-based upward look, we must also endeavour to move from passivity to activity, keeping in mind we ‘work’ from the place of ‘rest’ in our faith in Christ (‘Mary-ing’ rather than ‘Martha-ing’).

This process of identifying skills and abilities mirrors the Christian language of gifts, talents and ministries found in Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 (see the Gifts PDF link to left of this article).

In the following articles are highlights and soundbites taken from Tim’s notes for the day, as well some further information and links about ABCD, and the vision of what we’re provsionally calling the Thurrock Wellbeing Day.

To whet your appetite…

“No matter how rich you are, you have needs – no matter how poor you are, you have gifts.”

We must unlock opportunities now rather than continue to produce services.


  • Deficit-based thinking
    • focusing on problem IS the problem
    • can’t do attitude
  • Asset-based thinking
    • believe that people have untold possibilities
    • can do attitude!

This echoes Transformation Thurrock’s raison d’être

  • to pray for, encourage, prophetically declare and see the resultant blessings of unity as promised in Psalm 133, 2 Chronicles 7:14 and John 17:23 and elsewhere
  • to nurture in partnership with the Holy Spirit opportunities to replace the ‘filthy water’ (the Anglo-Saxon turroc = bilge) with the ‘fresh water’ of refeshing, revitalisation, restoration and revival
  • to move our community from the ‘Gideon complex’ (hemmed in, confused, lacking self-esteem, sorry for itself, woe-is-me) to the Word of God-bestowed identification of MIGHTY MAN OF VALOUR (or warrior) as befits a borough so geographically, historically and spiritually strategic as Thurrock (Judges 6:11-16)

More to follow…