How to Remake the World Neighborhood by Neighborhood
By: G.S. “Mack” McCarter and Tim Muldoon
“My friend Mack, a true servant leader grounded in faith and hope, has written a book that is both compelling and necessary for our time and all time. From the moment of reading the introduction where tears flowed on my cheeks to the last word, Mack has given us a path forward that may be new to some but is ancient in its wisdom. With a big vision of caring and compassion integrating all humanity, he explains the small steps we all can put it into action to truly build an “ever-renewing community" which can “remake our world, neighborhood by neighborhood."--Matthew Dowd, political strategist, MSNBC analyst, and author of A New Way: Embracing the Paradox as We Lead and Serve
“Mack beautifully illustrates by words and actions what my homeless friend, Denver Moore, pounded into my brain. It is not the language we speak or the color of our skin that divides us, it’s the condition of our hearts. This game changing book should be required reading for every person on the planet.” --Ron Hall, co-author of #1 NYT Best Seller, SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME
“One of my all-time favorite movies is “Back to the Future.” Mack McCarter doesn’t have the wild hair of the scientist but “by golly” he does have God’s “bolt of lightning” for plugging in best practices of his childhood into declining neighborhoods. Through this book, Mack McCarter shares the courageous steps he took to fuse love and caring
into relationships…using best elements of society to improve neighborhoods, cities and our futures.”--Linda C. Fuller, co-founder of Habitat for Humanity International and The Fuller Center for Housing
“The practical guidance in this volume for bringing about fundamental change in our communities draws on insights about humanity flowing from Aristotle through Weber to behavioral economics. It also subtly recounts one man’s journey of discerning a true vocation. Wonderfully written, it is truly inspirational.”--Christopher L. Holoman, Ph.D, President, Centenary College of Louisiana
“Mack McCarter, by caring for others on a massive scale has truly made the world a better place. This book tells how he did it.”--Bennett Johnston, four-term US Senator from Louisiana
“Several experts on democracy conclude that we suffer as a nation from a lack of societal trust. In his book, McCarter offers a roadmap rich with analysis, the experience of application and the vision for up-scaling this model as a course correction away from threat and toward trust. If you have any concern for the future of our nation, or if you are lacking in hope, I ask you to give this book the serious attention it deserves.”--Frank F. Islam, Entrepreneur and author of Renewing the American Dream and Working the Pivot Points: To Make America Work Again
“Mack McCarter is a truly remarkable man who daily lives the commandment to love his neighbor as himself. Over 30 years ago he began developing a sustainable and measurable model for systematically rebuilding communities block by block by loving and caring for people. Recognizing the desperate need, Mack has interestingly laid out the blueprint for changing our world into loving, connected communities. A must read!”--John H. Dalton, Chair of the National Advisory Board of Community Renewal and 70th Secretary of the Navy
“Mack McCarter has spent a lifetime forging loving communities out of complete strangers. This revealing and thoughtful book documents how caring, friendship, and the gift of kindness can bring about powerful changes in our world. It sounds so simple, and that's his point. He reminds us that loving each other isn't hard to do, it just takes practice.”--Lee Cowan, Correspondent, CBS Sunday Morning
“Mack McCarter has found THE best formula for repairing a broken world…. And he describes it in this book. The formula is so simple, which is why it is so effective and why I was eager to jump at the opportunity to support it in our company’s “neighborhood.” Just imagine how much better the world would be if everyone followed Mack’s passion to bring love, kindness and caring to one person, one city block, or to one neighborhood.”--Patrick Ottensmayer, CEO of Kansas City Southern Railway Company
“As a native Shreveporter, I’m so proud of the work of Community Renewal. What I love about CR is that it’s not about fixing other people or imposing solutions. The simple philosophy behind this movement is that when we care for one another, this system of relationships provides the loving foundation upon which every human being realizes their potential to live a life that is rich in dignity and meaning. When we are loved and safe, we can all fly like Tommy whom you will meet inside!!”--Camille Alexander, Head of Global Sales, BNY Mellon
“Mack McCarter’s infectious enthusiasm makes it nearly impossible, once you begin, to put this fast-moving, heart-warming book down. The Mount Canaan Church story, and his leadership in founding, nurturing and shepherding his inspirational Community Renewal International (CRI) project in Shreveport brings home with lucid, simple writing, the deeply theological and unforgettable depth Mack brings to everything he says and writes. Put simply, this book translates “love they neighbor,” better than you can imagine.”--Joe R. Reeder, 14th Undersecretary, U.S. Army
“Mack McCarter knew long ago what so many of us still seek to understand. It is not that we are so divided, it's that we are not connected enough. Starting not with a program, his focus was on people, their relationships to each other, and the places they called home. Armed with the disarmingly simple and bedrock belief that caring might beget caring, Mack has re-invented the idea of community organizing from the inside out, where the heart is the indeed the heart of the matter. He has demonstrated that real community renewal, and with it national renewal, can start anywhere, and is just one neighbor away. He has given us a roadmap to hope.” --Sterling Speirn, former CEO of the Kellogg Foundation
“From Mack McCarter’s heart to his initial vision of love and respect for one another, Community Renewal International (CRI) today is transforming individual lives and communities. I have personally seen the power of love through this renewal in action for individuals, neighborhoods, communities and the world. What promise and potential this book offers to anyone impelled to bring progress and healing to their own communities, and thus to the world.”--Virginia Harris, Founding Trustee and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity
“How to Remake the World Neighborhood by Neighborhood provides a road map designed to repair our broken world. Community Renewal International has proven that together, caring people have amazing influence. They have the ability to move communities, our country and even our world, in a positive direction.”--Sally T. Prouty, Former Senior Fellow PACE, Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement, Former Interim CEO National Conference on Citizenship, Former CEO The Corps Network
“Mack McCarter is a visionary, a thinker and lover of people. He set out to transform his hometown, Shreveport, Louisiana, person by person and neighborhood by neighborhood. His heartfelt desire to reconnect people with their neighbors and bring love and caring for others back into communities where homes surrounded by fences with doors locked and living in TV land had become the norm. Mack was persistent and he has built a movement which has spread across the US and also globally. “--Sherri Parker Lee
“Mack McCarter the quintessential story teller, shares his early-pioneering and ultimate development of a powerful, proven model for building productive relationships, neighborhood by neighborhood. The inspiring story is filled with wisdom, practical steps and joyous outcomes for addressing today’s relational poverty – and how we can ‘re-village’ into communities that actually work because they have mastered the intention and practice of caring. “--Robert Hall, recovering CEO and author of the best-selling book, This Land of Strangers: The Relationship Crisis That Imperils Home, Work, Politics and Faith
“In this book, Mack simply puts words to the actions he’s already taken in communities. We’ve seen the powerful results of Community Renewal here in Shreveport, Louisiana and his recipe is a powerful one that can change the world. Fantastic read for anyone looking to make the world a better place.”--Adrian Perkins, Mayor of Shreveport
“Mack McCarter is a rare “all in" inspiring genuine individual, who has dedicated his life to help others and communities in need. He has helped streets of despair become neighborhoods where Children and their parents can grow with the hope that the world is not without promise, and faith, and goodness.”--Kix Brooks, Country music artist
“Mack McCarter’s infectious enthusiasm makes it nearly impossible, once you begin, to put this fast-moving, heartwarming book down. The Mount Canaan Church story, and his leadership in founding, nurturing, and shepherding his inspirational Community Renewal International (CRI) project in Shreveport brings home the deeply theological and unforgettable depth Mack brings to everything he says and writes. Put simply, this book translates ‘love thy neighbor,’ better than you can imagine.”—Joe R. Reeder, 14th undersecretary, U.S. Army
“Mack McCarter knew long ago what so many of us still seek to understand. It is not that we are so divided, it’s that we are not connected enough. Armed with the disarmingly simple and bedrock belief that caring might beget caring, Mack has re-invented the idea of community organizing from the inside out, where the heart is the indeed the heart of the matter. He has given us a roadmap to hope.”—Sterling Speirn, former CEO, The Kellogg Foundation
"I have personally seen the power of love through this renewal in action for individuals, neighborhoods, communities and the world. What promise and potential this book offers to anyone impelled to bring progress and healing to their own communities, and thus to the world.”—Virginia Harris, founding trustee and former chairman of the board of trustees, The Mary Baker Eddy Library
How to Remake the World Neighborhood by Neighborhood is the solution to the social breakdown felt across the country and around the world today. It narrates the story and philosophy of Community Renewal International (CRI), an organization founded in Shreveport, Louisiana. In the places where it has taken root, people build new friendships and begin to restore the bonds that sustain communities so that they thrive. Crime rates plummet. People come out of their homes and grow connections with their neighbors. They become active, caring participants in their societies.
The late Millard Fuller, co-founder of Habitat for Humanity, once described CRI as “the premier community renewal building model in the nation,” and his wife and co-founder Linda Fuller writes, “Mack McCarter shares the courageous steps he took to fuse love and caring into relationships, using the best elements of society to improve neighborhoods, cities and our futures.”
The book tells the story of how McCarter returned to his home town of Shreveport after many years as a pastor in Texas. He found a city that was racially divided and suffering from violence. With a small group of like-minded people, he intentionally and proactively began engaging with people in the city's most violent and dangerous neighborhood. Over time, studying the history of the rise and fall of civilizations and applying that research to the practical question of community renewal, he developed a replicable system. Today, Black and white, Republican and Democrat, men and women—all who have become part of the “We Care Team,” now over 50,000 strong, have remade entire neighborhoods and repaired the fabric of society.
G.S. “Mack” McCarter is the founder and coordinator of Community Renewal International. Before returning in 1994 to his native Shreveport to implement his vision, Mack pastored churches in Texas for eighteen years. There are now more than 50,000 “We Care” team members in every state and forty-one nations. Ten cities in the United States are reproducing the Shreveport model of connecting caring people, changing lives, and transforming communities. Mack and his wife Judy live in Shreveport, LA, and Washington, DC.
Tim Muldoon teaches in the philosophy department at Boston College and is the author or co-author of ten books including The Ignatian Workout and, with his wife Sue, The Discerning Parent. His books and essays are used frequently in college courses, faculty discussion groups, and retreats. He and Sue reside outside of Boston.