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Transformation: It Happens To Me First

Honestly, when I began working with Community Supervision to teach classes it was for the wrong reasons.  Desiring a way to reach fractured families and build a local congregation, the opportunity posed by the county seemed like a good entry point.  A Life Skills class needed taught effectively and I had access to the materials and expertise in use across the nation in the Department of Justice / Department of Corrections.  I fully expected we would teach some lightly attended classes, gain more knowledge of the local community, and get busy back with church work.  Boy was I wrong.rayschange

Healing fractured families is all I expected it to be and more. Simultaneous to developing and delivering the classes, we involved ourselves in other initiatives.  Training for On My Shoulders, PREP Parenting, Within My Reach, PREP singles, and PREP, couples communication was engaged.  Each of these took an investment of a full week of training.  Certification in DCPI, Dynamic Church Planters International, was accomplished and two groups of urban ministers were trained in effective community engagement.  Research in Compassion Power, a strongly successful anger management and batterer’s intervention approach revealed key insights.  Finally, certification through the Aha! Process in Getting Ahead, a system of assisting impoverished in building new mindsets was achieved.  Really, the last two years were the equivalent of a masters in Making It Happen For Others.

As a business professional and entrepreneur and corporate fix it man, understanding first and fixing later has become a style.  It works.  Really get under the covers and find the mechanical design and issues before attempting adjustments to timing and operation.  Part of our growth curve has also been to understand the world of grants and funding and what works and what to avoid.  Part has been to understand the world of those we help.  To be a solution provider in cultural shift and community transformation you must “Get up off of your curb and sit down on the curb of another.

Next, comes the hard part.  Getting a good board that is involved and informed will be a primary success factor for changing Cooke County.  Leadership means commitment from the local community.  We are not there yet. We want a mix of fresh and fixture.  Some need to bring new ideas and approaches.  Others are needed to understand and intersect with the current status quo of the county.  Change is a long tailed enterprise.  Transformation takes time.

Then, the most informative action has been the work itself.  It would be wrong to call what we do classes.  That is a component.  That is the foundation.  But the work is relationship.  It moves from teacher to mentor to friend.  We have woven ourselves into the fabric of the community and developed deep and caring relationships with some.  That was intentional and surprising.  A viable and sustainable initiative must engage in long term relational structure.  Sustainability is important to us.  The relationship is both with those that come for training and those that have come alongside as community facilitators.  A team is forming that provides continuance and opens options for the Transformers.

Transformers is how we refer to students, clients, clientele, attendees, or whatever term suits you.  Transformers suits me.  They are transformational with their lives, the lives of their families and friends, and with the entire community.  They cause ripple impacts at work, at home, at school, and in the community.  They are Transformers.

Make no mistake.  CTI is not a PMO. We are a PCO.  PMO stands for Poverty Maintenance Organization.  There is a place for this and it is a good place.  Need food?  Here is food.  Need rent?  Here is rent.  Need a class?  There is the computer. Take it online.  There is always a need for charitable giving that goes into what can be a bottomless need.  A PCO is a Positive Change Organization.  Need food?  Let’s go find a job.  Need rent?  Let’s figure out how to work it off.  Need a class?  Sit down and let’s live it and learn it together.  A PCO works at root cause analysis and resolution and works to rebuild mental constructs, attitudes, beliefs and skill sets. A transition happens from getting a need met to meeting the need myself and helping someone else meet their need also.  This is our distinctive value proposition.

In 2013/4, we graduated 57 Transformers in Life Skills (THINK) and 14 Family Builders (parenting) and 8 Mentor/Faciliators.  All but a few are still in contact.  16 are in class now.  Some of this is overlap.  We are in our second generation success.  A Life Skills grad comes back for Family Builders.  A Life Skills grad engages in community service and begins the process of giving back so others can gain what they have gained.  A Life Skills grad repeats the sessions as a facilitator.  This is second generation.  And then there are some third generation.  A Life Skills grad brings their partner to Family Builders and their kids get into events designed for them and a community is built around good positive family relationships.  A group is in that process right now.

A Transformer texted me yesterday.  She graduated a month ago.  Every day she completes what we call a “Thinking Report”. It is a tool to analyze your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs and engage in cognitive self change.  She refuses to relax until she accomplishes her goals.  She understands what we think is the driver to all actions.

A Transformer facebooked me this week.  When he came a year ago, he was newly out of prison, angry and confident his life was over.  Today he is one of the top coaches in helping others overcome addictive patterns right here in Cooke County.  He has and is helping countless others.  Over and over new people I meet mention his name.  THINK is what moved him into a different world.  He has a good job and good friends.

A Transformer stopped me in a restaurant this week.  He had his family surrounding him.  He’s lost weight and settled back into life after some years in prison.  He was one I thought would never make it.  He fought and resisted in every session.  But he made it.  He stuck it out.  He wanted to be added to any encouragements we send out.  So now, he is part of our daily text out.

It is for these we do what we do.  Not everyone is a success story.  Some don’t make it through the class.  We don’t play games.  Game players drop out fairly quick or change their mode.  But most people are looking for a chance.  They make it.

While working in Marietta, Oklahoma, a friend called me.  He told me that on the street in Marietta my reputation was that I was a Probation Officer in Texas looking for a place to house criminals.  I laughed a long time.  I guess we have helped enough people in Cooke County with connections in Love County, Oklahoma that it is affecting that community also.  That is a good thing.  Changed people change people.

At a community event, several managers from Winstar (the world’s largest casino) came up and shook my hand.  They thanked me and told me how important what we do is for them.  It is making a difference in their employees and they are grateful.  The workplace is improving.

When you support Community Transformation Initiative in Cooke County, Texas this is what you get.  Transformed lives, families, workplaces, and community.  It just makes sense to do it.

Initiatives in Love and Cleveland Counties in Oklahoma are beginning.  The model is working and continuing to develop.  It works.

A FRESH GENneration: Out of the Crowed and into Their Place.

servantsUse Your Professional Power…

Have you found the powerful young man or woman in your sphere of influence ready to do something big? Community Transformation Initiative reaches all ages and all stages. CTI connects with government, education, community, congregation, family, and individual. I like that and I support that.

Painted across our mental landscape are pictures of angry youth and twenty-somethings. Really? Is that all there is? The media is far too busy destroying hope. Yes, this is a generation of fatherless and increasingly parentless powerhouses. The potential is warped and pained. It is potential. It is power waiting to be unleashed.

As a professional, we can get skewed visions of this generation. Our own home is prim and proper. Our friends are prim and proper. As a professional did you ever realize you are the minority? The majority lives in pain. Violence and abuse is a norm. Abandoned and aborted relationships are the norm. Drugs and alcohol and godlessness are the norm. Unlimited potential power is in the hands of the pained. Dare you ignore that? It will be released. It is being released. Choose to be a part of releasing it in positive directions.

The young woman in the center of this picture lives in Matamoros, Mexico. She lives in a city where kidnapping is an industry. She lives in a neighborhood ruled by the dominant cartel. She lives in a city under martial law. She is a flower of hope. She is unlimited positive potential power waiting to be blossomed and unleashed.

For six years my team and I have worked with a men’s recovery center and two congregations in Matamoros. Youth have grown strong in this environment. Those that chose to embrace positive change have learned that nothing is impossible.

While working with CAREVI (Casa A Restauracion Y La Vida), I have watched her family change neighborhood after neighborhood. During a time of powerful prayer and teaching, she walked with me for over and hour so she could see close up the hand of God. She came out of the crowd and into her place.

Nothing positive happens without purposeful push and pull. Vicky will never be the same. I will continue coaching her over facebook. She already has been watching and learning from me in that venue as does her whole family. Her father pushed the first Dad’s University in Mexico and continues to make a difference.

CTI is active in 34 state houses, Matamoros, Gainesville, Tx, Marietta, Ok, and the OKC Metro every week. Join us with financial support, professional services, or get personally engaged hands on. Do something. Unleash the potential. Help someone get out of the crowd and into their place.

The Place to Givelifelongdads2015april

Be A Friend

Discussions on helping families move into a better life.
1. Be a friend.  Quit delivering push down solutions and be a friend.  Listen.  Learn. Connect heart to heart. Change intake into connect.
2. Pull up not out. People have a community.  It struggles. But, it is family.  Don’t break up families. Do the long work.
3. Together Everyone Achieves More.  A nice yuppie TEAM acronym we refuse to give away.  Form supportive community inside of a wounded, struggling group of friends.
4. Think generational.  Apply to


community transformation the way you fund retirement. Think next Gen.

Just some thoughts.

100 Days of Fresh

Our partner hosts in Gainesville and Marietta shot out this news, so we thought we’d pass it on.  CTI starts new classes in Life Skills, Family Building, (both in Gvle ) and Project Relate, couples communication, (in OKC) IN April.  We also are launching the Mentor network alongside.

The blowout concert on March 14th marked the beginning of 100 Days of Fresh.  Fresh vision.  Fresh fire.  Fresh strength.  It was a beautiful moment and the touch continues.

Dr Tunstall stirred us the next morning with a fresh call to action at Hope Connection, the place where all struggles are welcome, the place that welcomes and wants those of us with hurts, hangups, and habits of which we’d like to be free.

Classes in new thinking and family building followed on Monday.

This weekend we launch Mentor training with CTI with a full class. Also Moustafa Al Jassin, an international artist offers private lessons in abstract painting for adults and children.

In April Dr Tunstall will be bringing a fresh fire series for three Sundays right after Easter as we prepare both campuses for simultaneous live services. 

April 6th starts new 10 week sessions of Life Skills, Think About It!, and Family Builders, parenting. 

Prayer Force One  be with us April 10 and 11 as part of the Medal of Honor celebration.  The first Prayer Medal of Honor  be awarded right her in Gainesville.

Corazones de Servicio, mission to Matamoros, leaves April 30 on Dia Del Niño and returns May 3rd for a power packed weekend working with CAREVI and the men’s recovery center in the colonias.

The sports complex in Marietta is on tap with two half court basketball courts scheduled to open to the public this month.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day will be fun celebrations.

GET FREE on Sunday evenings at 6:30 is building steam.  This study based on biblical principles matched to 12 step programs is a powerful tool for all. Come any week.

What are you doing for the community?  Join the team that does not know how to lie down.  This generation deserves the best.

Now forming evangelism and kids teams in both cities.  Take your place.

Hope Connection 3404 N Grand Ave Gainesville  700 S Hwy 77 Marietta
10:45am and 6:30pm Gvle
9am Mrta (until May) 405.388.8037

Create A New America

Love is Not Shady

loveisnotshadyLove conquers, friend.

I Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In this oft quoted clip from Paul’s instructional letter to groups in a society marked by anger, avarice, greed, and selfish ambition, we see a few aspects of love. Paul birthed and nutured a work among the people and wanted a mark of compassion, mercy, consideration, graciousness, patience, and cooperation.

Love can be passionate, friendly, family, unconditional or all four. When love expresses itself in control, abuse, violence, and exploitation, we wonder if there is any love at all. We make laws to protect people against such expressions.

I pray real love that serves others surrounds you and your family and friends, friend. Our society is torn. One of the top books and movies of our time romanticizes exploitation. As this movie releases over the St. Valentine’s weekend, my heart is heavy. The sickness of our society flows in the streets. Every day, I face men and women who are exploited or are exploiting others. I face them with offers to come out to a different lifestyle. I know you as a leader, do also.

To romanticize deep emotional and physical scars strikes me as aberrant. Our nation deserves a better life forward. People need to know it is okay to become okay.

I pray, friend, that you are covered with compassion, consideration, confidence, commitment, patience, affirmation, appreciation, support, comfort, and concern.

I pray, friend, that you pour those qualities into every decision you make.

I pray for our communities, states, and nation that we honor and raise high standards of community covenant and strength based on love that never fails.

The Mission

logo2.pngWe commit to a better life for our community. We commit to a life full of graciousness and peace.  We commit to develop fathers, parents, and community leaders full of grace and peace.  We commit to offer this grace and peace in education, events, and encouragement.

Phil Larson 405-388-8037

The Mission:

Community Transformation touches multiple strata through education, encouragement and engagement for the development of a stable family healthy community transformed to moral integrity, personal responsibility, and community accountability.

  • Strengthen fathers in the home, leaders in business, congregation, education, and community as well as legislators in all states.
  • Transform this generation of fractured and fatherless families through education, encouragement, and engagement.
  • Move forward toward a better life through relationship and communication training solutions that are research and evidence based.
  • Develop moral integrity, personal responsibility, and community accountability through wisdom based encouragements.
  • Engage and empower individuals in leadership action and network.

How will we do this?

Family and Fathering Weekends

Focused community education and training.

Encouraging Words and A Listening Heart to 7000 legislators.

Encouraging Words and a Listening Heart to 30,000 Pastors.

Encouraging Words to All Who Come.

Cooperative Engagements with Like-Hearted Groups.

Why Do We Do This?

  • The United States leads the world in fatherlessness with over 40% o of our children going to bed without a father present.
  • Our fatherlessness is not just physical.  It is emotional, social, relational, and spiritual.
  • The active presence of a supportive father brings home and community health.  Studies prove that children with this advantage perform better in education, become more caring people, and avoid destructive behaviors.
  • This situation is reflective of the health of our leadership in community, congregation, and home.
  • Good leaders and good fathers are nurturing, committed, caring, alert, aware, involved, protective providers.
  • Good leaders and good fathers are supported and covered in caring community.

We commit to make a difference in the home, the neighborhood, the community, the states, and our nation.

What Is Our Status?

  • All of our successes have been due to great cooperation across the community and the part-time leadership of Phil Larson, our director.
  • Since 2002, numerous fathering and parenting citywide and focused events have been held    in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, The Oklahoma Family Policy Council, The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, CDC, CBMC, and hundreds of other community groups and congregations.
  • Since 2002, numerous cross denominational and cross cultural events have been held developing leadership community unity.
  • Since 2002, hundreds of thousands of encouraging messages and prayers have been delivered.
  • Today, we reach 3500 legislators in 34 states.
  • Today, we reach 2000+ community leaders in congregations and businesses primarily in the Oklahoma City metro along with the Matamoros metro.
  • Today, we work with Transformers, many of whom are referred from probation and parole, through Life Skills (cognitive self restructuring) and Parenting classes.
  • We understand we need full time leadership to reach the next level of community impact.  Phil Larson has made the missionary commitment to give himself fully to this effort and has exited his business professional position to see this happen.

We are committed to make a difference.

How Can I Help?

  • Finances : The Community Transformation Initiative is an authorized extension of PrayerMetro, Inc., an authorized 501c3 for charitable tax deductible contribution. EIN 11-3664238.  Mail to The Community Transformation Initiative c/o PrayerMetro, 508 Tumbleweed Dr., Yukon,  Oklahoma 73009 or give now by clicking here.
  • Prayer:  Commit to pray with every update, every gift you give, every hour you serve or every day if your heart is so moved.
  • Hands:  This work takes many talents and hands.  What can you give of yourself?
  • Phil Larson 405-388-8037


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