Keeping up with the ministry of Lee & Dana Trotter in the Prescott neighborhood in urban Kansas City, Kansas.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Off to CCDA!

We leave for Minneapolis for the CCDA Convention tomorrow.  We hope to get re-energized to reach our community at CCDA (Christian Community Development Association).

Here is a quote from John Perkins, CCDA's founder, that has been rattling around in my brain,

"We in CCDA think of ourselves as bringing back some of the signs of the authentic church which when worked out in healing, transformative action in the community lead to social change and, when unpacked and reflected upon in relationship, become powerful evangelistic fuel for personal salvation and spiritual transformation."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bike shop vision

Here is a great piece on a successful bike shop in South Atlanta.  It is my vision to get to the point where I have a sustainable bike shop similar to this.  It just takes investors and time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

First Second Sundays Youth Worship

The first Second Sundays youth worship service went well.  I was hoping for a bigger crowd, but it's a start.  
Suit Relay

Lizzie had some kids join the rhythm section

Sharing the Word

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Economy of Free Bicycles

This is a rather long post, but I’d love to hear your input…

Everyone deserves a bicycle.  Bicycles were a big part of my memories growing up.  Riding with my family, my brother, and friends comprised much of my “good times”.  I try to pass that opportunity on to the youth in my neighborhood.  Many cannot afford a bike, so I have given them one.  I have given many to adults who need them to get to work or just get around because they don’t have a car and the buses around here are a joke.  I have had many bikes donated over the past year and a half.  I have even got quite a few new bikes donated.

Sounds all good, right?  Living here in the same community as these bike recipients, I see the rest of the story.  Often, many of us will give bikes or other things away to poor people and leave it at that, not knowing what happens after we get over the satisfaction of giving and they get over the joy of receiving. 

The challenge is it is harder to get youth to take care of their bikes, when they get them for free.  I have countless kids coming back with their bikes because they have skidded out their tires, rode them on flat tires and ruined the rim, left them in the rain so that parts are rusted and not working, or pushed them down a hill or anything else that a kid could dream of to tear up a bike.  I realize they are kids, but I still try to teach them to take care of their bikes.  I wonder if they had bought the bike or worked on it or for it, they might take better care of it.

I’ve had many other issues come up that require a more complex response.  It is way too easy to create an atmosphere of entitlement.  I have a number of kids who are always bugging me for a new bike because they don’t like the one they have or they want something better.  “What happened to your old bike?” I ask.  “Oh, it’s no good anymore.” Or  “I don’t like it anymore.” Or “Nice bike. Can I have it?”

Other issues are bike theft is big around here.  I have added to the problem by putting more than 100 decent bikes into our community and thieves and scrappers have figured this out.  One homeless friend has had 4 bikes that I have set him up with stolen.

Other issues are parents selling the kids bikes to get money, leaving the kids to beg me for another bike.  I’ve even had people show up at my door from other area of Kansas City asking for free bikes. 

I have looked at other models of successful bike programs and studied how they deal with all this.  Many have set up shops full of volunteers teaching kids to work on bikes so they can earn points toward bikes or parts.  Until I have those kind of resources, I have decided to tear down all of the bikes and parts bikes I have left and concentrate on repair and training kids to repair their own bikes.  I am setting up a repair shop at the church and a set time on Saturday mornings.

I love helping kids with their bikes.  I get plenty of time to talk about life, school, and God with them, but want to have a more lasting effect on my community.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Second Sundays kick-off next week!

I am getting the first Second Sundays youth worship planned.  It should be a great program.  My prayer now is that youth show up.  There is not a real good way to promote things in our neighborhood.  We are passing out fliers this next week on Tuesday evening if anyone is available to help.

Be the Change.