Building Relationships • Developing Leaders • Acting for Justice

The Organizing Cycle

The steps of the organizing cycle

Steps in the organizing cycleCommunity organizing is not a program with a beginning and an end, but rather it is an ongoing cycle. Each step is an opportunity to identify and develop leaders, build relationships, strengthen the institutions, and encourage positive change. New participants jump in at any step, but eventually need to go through the entire cycle repeatedly.

Vision/Planning Meeting

Deciding to work together and act on something that the group cares about as a whole.

Individual Meetings

Build a relationship by getting to know someone else’s self interest; where do they spend their time and why do they spend it there, what really makes them tick?

House Meetings

Purpose is to build relationships, get a pulse of the congregation and what they care about, seek potential leaders.


Transform the common “problem” into a specific “issue” that leaders commit to and have agreed upon and is winnable.

Public Assembly

Move work toward more public attention.


What went well, what could have gone better, is this working or should we take a new approach?

Renewal of member institutions

Whenever clergy and lay leaders are seeking to strengthen their institutions, Lake County United offers training and support on how to use organizing tools and techniques in revitalizing and renewing leadership teams and a clear sense of mission and direction. With contributions by Lake County United, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) has recently published Effective Organizing for Congregational Renewal highlighting several local examples of this work.



Reflecting on Policing Practices Throughout the Country
by Michael Gecan:

The Triangle: Policy wonks, patronage, and the possibilities of the grassroots
by Michael Gecan

On Borrowed Time: Urban decline moves to the suburbs
by Michael Gecan

It’s time to hold America’s gunmakers accountable
by E.J. Dionne Jr.

System works against the mentally ill in Illinois' prisons, jails
by The Rev. Michael Solberg and Amy Lawless Ayala


Going Public
by Michael Gecan
"The inside story of an extraordinary politics you probably didn't know existed. Read this book and you may begin to believe that human-scale democracy is still possible in America" -- William Greider, author of Who Will Tell the People
ISBN-13: 978-1400076499

Effective Organizing for Congregational Renewal: All Organizing Is Dis-Organizing and Re-Organizing
by Michael Gecan
ISBN-13: 978-0879463847

After America’s Midlife Crisis
by Michael Gecan
ISBN-13: 978-0262013604

Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action, and Justice
by Edward Chambers
ISBN-13: 978-0826414991

Upon This Rock: The Miracles of A Black Church
by Samuel G. Freedman
ISBN-13: 978-0060924591

Cold Anger: A Story of Faith and Power Politics
by Mary Beth Rogers
ISBN-13: 978-0929398136

Gathering Power: The Future of Progressive Politices in America
by Dr. Paul Osterman
ISBN-13: 978-0807043387