133. Partners Not Projects, with Scott Sabin, Executive Director of Plant with Purpose


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Scott Sabin is the Executive Director of Plant with Purpose, an organization that works with people in poverty all over the world to restore the land where they live so that they can become self-sustaining. It’s an organization that recognizes that they are not the saviors of the poor, they are partners who work with the poor.
In this episode, Scott shares about the work of Plant with Purpose. Then, Scott and Markus draw connections between the way Plant with Purpose does its mission work and how the healthiest churches do ministry in their neighborhoods. And it all comes down to recognizing people as "partners, not projects."

  • Scott Sabin is the Executive Director of Plant With Purpose, author of Tending to Eden, and an elder at Mount Soledad Presbyterian Church.
  • The mission of Plant with Purpose begins with the recognition that many of the world’s poorest people depend directly on the well-being of the land for their survival.
  • Plant with Purpose works to alleviate poverty in three ways:
    • Environmental restoration
    • Economic empowerment through Purpose Groups (savings groups)
    • Spiritual renewal through a biblically based curriculum
  • Plant with Purpose focuses its work around watersheds for a variety of practical reasons.
  • Once Plant with Purpose identifies an area in which to work, they begin networking with local leaders.
  • Asset-mapping is an important component of Plant with Purpose’s work. What are the assets in a particular community?
  • Plant with Purpose seeks to collaborate with other organizations in the area.
  • It is critical to hear from all the different parts of a community (not just one or two groups).
  • The staff that does the work locally are local to the region (or, at least, local to the country). They are not outsiders.
  • Plant with Purpose views the people the serve as “partners, not projects.”
  • Scott and Markus reflect on how Plant with Purpose’s strategies and methods could be applied to local church ministry.


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