How to Transform Lives
Sep 04, 2012 by David Osborn | 0 Comments
Many people believe that people do not really change. But Dr. Mimi Silbert has been working with “the worst of the worst” felons for more than 30 years—14,000 felons. Over 90% of those who complete the four-year program have gotten their lives straightened out in the process. How did this happen?
She has many businesses, all run by felons, most of them from gangs. She is the only non-felon in the program. For these felons to succeed, two critical behaviors from the gang culture must be overcome: care only about yourself and don’t rat on anyone. To help them confront their problems, Dr. Silbert works at reversing those two behaviors by substituting two other behaviors.
First, everyone is responsible for the success of someone else. A new person just off of the streets (as most of them are) is taught to set up tables (or whatever job they are to do) by someone perhaps only a week into the program. That person was trained the week before by another felon who had entered perhaps a week earlier. Workers are not asked how they are doing but how those they help are doing.
Second, everyone is responsible to point out to anyone when they are breaking a rule or acting badly. That’s how they learn what those things are in their life that they need to change. They did not see these actions as wrong before they enter the program. But everyone’s actions are out in the open, which helps them see what they need to work on to change.
This is consistent with Jesus’ words:
"Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:19)
It is practice and then teach. If you do not practice, the teaching is theoretical rather than from experience. But to practice you must know what to practice. These felons, as their bad behavior is pointed out, are learning to improve their practice.
Central to our Doctor of Ministry program is to learn to use what you’ve got, to work with God, to then practice what you’ve learned and then teach it. However, our goal is not to just transform students. Our goal is to produce transformed students who can work with God to transform others.
Join us to become a transformed transformer.
Contact us to learn how Dr. Silbert’s concepts relate to our program and your ministry.