For a movement like LF to flourish, organizational theorists talk about developing a learning culture—that particular way in which knowledge is gathered, packaged, and delivered. Richard McDermott, in the Harvard Business Review, coined the term “communities of practice” to describe how this process works. Indeed, we need look no further than Jesus’s training of the twelve to see evidence of this theological reality.
McDermott goes on to write that every community of practice shares a basic structure consisting of three parts: a domain of knowledge, a community of people, and a shared practice. It is this structure that has energized and animated the creation of an online training curriculum called City As Playground: LF Training Essentials. Done in partnership with our training partner, Street Psalms, this resource allows us to keep up with our ever-growing list of cities (now over 30) expressing desire to affiliate with LF.
Through the City As Playground: LF Training Essentials we have created six 90-minute sessions offered on a monthly basis by a variety of seasoned voices to ensure that LF’s gift of seeing the city as God’s playground instead of a battleground, first given to Sam Shoemaker and Reid Carpenter in 1962, is passed forward in faithful and generative ways.
In this context the City As Playground: LF Training Essentials is a result of three primary elements: a domain of knowledge of how the city can become a playground which provides common ground and a common identity; a cultivated, nurtured, and modeled community of colleagues that understand transformation is not primarily about the transmission of information, but relationship; and surfacing the prominence of the wheel of change as our shared practice by highlighting current LF work around the world.
Through the City As Playground: LF Training Essentials we have created a training platform by which many cities and communities will be able to develop LF affiliates to help transform cities from battlegrounds to playgrounds.