The Equipper Newsletter
January 4, 2010
Churches Equipping Saints for Service

 Asset Mapping
by Carol Cohrs

Picture a room full of sticky-notes. Many are stuck on the walls, others are on the tables, and a few have fluttered to the floor.

The room is also full of church members, excitedly talking about their personal gifts, the church's resources, and connections they have with other organizations or associations.  They're also pulling the sticky-notes into groups of six to ten, giving them a tentative project title, and saying, "Yes, we can do this."

This picture is asset mapping, looking at the assets we already have, bringing resources together and making a decision to accomplish something new, perhaps doing it with someone you've never met before.  What a joy.  What you see is a meeting of people who have chosen to look at the future with a glass half-full, recognizing their glass is "overflowing in thanks" to the Lord.  (2 Cor 9:12-13)

Luther K. Snow gives a full description of asset mapping, and explains how anyone can lead an asset mapping event, in his book The Power of Asset Mapping: How Your Congregation Can Act on Its Gifts. I watched Mr. Snow lead 140 church leaders through asset mapping this past September in St. Louis, Missouri.  The hope was that their comfort level would move them to provide the same experience in their church, ultimately to see some new social service outreach activities in the St. Louis area.  The all-day workshop was made possible by a partnership of the Missouri District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and Lutheran Foundation of St. Louis.

So what is asset mapping and what are assets?  As you would expect, assets are your current resources, objects that you hold dear. Another way to identify assets is to ask, "What is your cup half-full of?" Each church and their members have much to be thankful for, so what are they? (continue)

 New book puts practical volunteerism in a nutshell
Putting Spiritual Gifts to Work: Equipping Saints for Service, a new self-published book by Karen Kogler, covers the whole picture of healthy church volunteerism, a you-can-do-this instruction manual for equipping the saints at your church for service. Both thorough and brief (80 pages), simple but not simplistic, it's an overview of the theological foundations with detailed practical applications. Available in The Equipper store in two versions: electronic version delivered by download, $15.00; print version delivered by mail, $25.00.    
 Good Stuff on the web
  1. Joy to the World! Are we missing out on the joy of serving? "The Joy-Driven Life," a Christianity Today article, reminds us that it's all too easy to take ourselves, and our tasks, so seriously that we miss out on the joy God promises us. How about a new year's resolution to spread joy?

  2. Did you watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on TV in December? In "It's a Wonderful Life if you live it for others," a posting on his blog, Gene Veith quotes a writer on the irony that this movie is so popular when it is so immensely counter-cultural, celebrating a man who gives up his own dreams and goals to live for others. Veith points out the connection to Luther’s doctrine of vocation. As we help people discover and use their gifts, we do well to remember that gifts are meant for service to others (1 Peter 4:10).

  3. Great article on "Setting Volunteers Up for Success." If we're not intentionally setting people us to succeed, we're likely unintentionally setting them up to fail. 

  4. Karen's recent blog postings include: "The Patience to Endure My Blessings," "Question Your Leaders," and "Reconciliation."

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The Equipper Newsletter published monthly by
Karen Kogler, Equipper Church Volunteerism Resources