Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing

By Dennis A. Jacobsen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
One-on-Ones

“The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and
as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, ‘Look, here is the Lamb
of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed
Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them,
‘What are you looking for?’ They said to him, ‘Rabbi, where are you
staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and see.’ They came and saw
where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was
about four o’clock in the afternoon.” (John 1:35–39)

The one-on-one interview is the primary tool of organizing. A good organizer continually does one-on-ones and trains leaders to do the same. The one-on-one interview is the building block of an organization. In the initial stages of developing a congregation-based community organization, hundreds of people are trained to conduct thousands of one-onones in their churches and neighborhoods. This essential process is repeated every few years in the life of an organization as a means of creating and deepening relationships, staying connected to the self-interests of the grassroots, and expanding the power base of the organization. While shaping an issue and preparing for an action, members of task forces conduct one-on-one interviews with those who have knowledge and influence relative to that issue.

On one level a one-on-one is as natural as a conversation over a backyard fence or with a fellow passenger in an airplane. On another level it is skilled, artful, intentional, and focused. The one-on-one interview is a means of initiating or building a relationship. The primary (and usually only) agenda of a one-on-one is to get to know the other person. It is not a sales pitch. It is not a means of asking another person to do something. It is not an attempt to recruit another person to one’s point of view. It is simply a conversation in which we learn another person’s self-interest by getting to know him or her. It is a conversation in which we come to understand what is important to another person, what motivates him or her, what is his or her passion. We can only come to understand as we

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Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter 1- The World as It Is 1
  • Chapter 2- The World as It Should Be 8
  • Chapter 3- Engaging the Public Arena 13
  • Chapter 4- Congregation-Based Community Organizing 23
  • Chapter 5- Power 38
  • Chapter 6- Self-Interest 50
  • Chapter 7- One-on-Ones 59
  • Chapter 8- Agitation 65
  • Chapter 9- Metropolitan Organizing 70
  • Chapter 10- Building and Sustaining An Organization 79
  • Chapter 11- Community 87
  • Chapter 12- A Spirituality for the Long Haul 96
  • Appendix 104
  • Notes 106
  • Study Guide 109
  • Index 139
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