Adopt-a-Block is a registered section (21) non-profit organisation founded in 2005.
Our goal is to help generate holistic community transformation in South Africa's economically marginal urban areas, by equipping local churches to train and mentor community members in practical Biblical Christian principles in order to address material and spiritual needs.
Adopt-a-Block is closely affiliated with New Creation Family Church (NCFC), a Christian church situated in Randburg, South Africa. NCFC forms part of a global church body called Church of the Nations (COTN). NCFC shares premises in Robin Hills, Randburg, with its close affiliate, The King's School, founded in 1984. The King's School is a well established private school offering Christian education for grade 0 through grade 12.
NCFC is a bible-based Christian church that believes in the ultimate authority of the Word of God (The Bible) and its applicability to all areas of modern life. The church also believes in making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and building strong families and community through loving and caring relationships. Founded in 1982, NCFC has always emphasised the importance of strong and loving families in building a safe, caring, productive, and morally strong community. It is off these spiritual foundations that Adopt-a-Block is built.
Adopt-a-Block South Africa: Background and Accomplishments
Between 2000 and 2003 the founders of Adopt-a-Block South Africa, brother and sister, James and Catherine Johnston, felt the Lord's call to serve and help transform the local communities around their church, New Creation. This aligned perfectly with the vision of the New Creation church elders under the leadership of pastors Ron Robinson and Grant Walton, who for many years had a vision for local mission and community transformation, especially in the poorer and economically marginalised community of Windsor East, Randburg.
On a trip to Los Angeles, California in 2004, James and Catherine encountered the Adopt-a-Block project run by the Dream Centre in the inner city of Los Angeles. They were profoundly inspired by the success that the Dream Centre had in economic and spiritual transformation of local communities. They returned to South Africa with fresh purpose and a more clearly defined vision for local community transformation. And so Adopt-a-Block South Africa was born with its own vision and mission to love and serve and build lasting friendships with the people of Windsor East.
From mid-2005 to December 2008, the Adopt-a-Block team visited families in Windsor East each Saturday morning, serving them in practical ways, helping to meet material, emotional and spiritual needs, and helping many of them discover personal relationships with Jesus Christ and find local church community by connecting with cell groups and the local church body.
Introspection and re-evaluation
At the end of 2008, after three and half years of serving the Windsor East community, Adopt-a-Block leaders decided to undertake a full evaluation of the organisation. We started by honestly assessing its successes and failures and asking whether the organisation was achieving maximum benefit for the community it aimed to serve, given the time, effort, and resources expended.
This evaluation period was vitally important and yielded excellent results. From it the Adopt-a-Block leaders emerged with a far more focussed strategy for achieving lasting community transformation in Windsor East. Key to this has been the establishment of clearly defined, marketable and measurable goals, around which an efficient, sustainable, and reproducible organisation can be built.
The overall ethos of the re-evaluation of Adopt-a-Block was "maximum social benefit per resources expended". It was felt that Adopt-a-Block had been founded with the right intentions but lacked strategic focus and organisational efficiency. This led to a situation in which volunteer participation was ad hoc and difficult to maintain. Furthermore, the benefits to the Windsor community members were hard to define, reducing the perceived value to the community of the Adopt-a-Block programmes.
The Adopt-a-Block leaders did however agree that the previous three and half years had given the long-serving members of the team invaluable experience in the Windsor community, affording insights into the lives of struggling families that can only be learned with time and commitment. Experienced Adopt-a-Block team members are known, trusted, and respected by the community. The three and half years of regular visiting and serving families in Windsor has given the team rich insights into the different cultural dynamics, economic challenges, and potential that exists in the community. We understand why Windsor has become a very poor and degraded suburb, why certain ethnic groups or nationalities get along and others do not, why rentals seem grossly overpriced relative to average incomes, and yet why there is still a very strong demand to live in Windsor East.
This experience cannot be learned in books or from merely a few visits to Windsor. It comes through building relationships in the community over time and proving that your organisation genuinely cares for the community's well-being.
Springboard into the future
The commitment to a solid strategic focus coupled with our experience over the past three and half years in Windsor provides an excellent springboard for Adopt-a-Block to move into its next phase. With past successes, failures, opportunities, and challenges locked safe in the experience-bank, we are excited to embark on a strategically improved project to help bring meaningful rejuvenation and material and spiritual transformation in Windsor.