Community Development and Social Justice Background and Purpose
Community Development and Social Justice Department was initiated in 2005 with the help of Gossner Mission under the leadership of Rev. Rosemary Nsofwa Mulumo. By then the department was community development department (CDD). This department come about upon realising that the Church for a long time was preaching the gospel of love without offering practical intervention. It was also created with the view to facilitate the proper channel of diaconal work in the church and community. In 2012 the Rev. Mulumo retired and was succeeded by the late Rev. Alice Nalwembe Mulenga who helped facilitate the change of the department’s name from just community development to Community Development and Social Justice.
This is so because social work is a dynamic profession and a social science committed to the pursuit of social justice, to quality of life, and to the development of the full potential of each individual, group and community in a society with a large and growing body of practitioners working in diverse range of programs. Dillard J. & Reilly R. (1988). Also diaconal workers draw on the social sciences to solve social problems. Among other focuses diaconal work addresses family therapy in which social workers work to help individuals with social problems to come up with solutions to overcome their problems. So to carter for all that is involved in diaconal work an additional of Social justice was included.
In 2014 under the leadership of Deaconess M.K. Sichali in collaboration with World renew a component of Missional congregations concept was incorporated to the work of community development with the view to address the needs of the congregants and community at large. Overview and purpose of Missional Congregation Concept
The department has borrowed its principles from the concept of Umoja which means togetherness or oneness. Umoja is about giving the local church a vision for their community. Through Bible studies and interactive activities, Umoja is about enthusing and empowering the church to go out into the community helping people identify and address their needs with their own resources and so is Missional Congregations Concept. Njoronge F., Tulo R., Crooks B. & Maurodian J. (2009).
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your
frame. You will be like a well-watered garden like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58:9-12
Benefits to the community
- Sense of purpose.
- Sustainable change.
- Sense of hope and well-being.
- Greater ability to adjust to changes in culture and the environment.
- Improved community relationships.
What are the benefits of Missional Congregations?
It builds on the strengths and hopes of a church group that want to make a difference in their community. There are a number of benefits to the church and community of doing Missional Congregations.
Benefits to the church
- Grows as a positive influence within the community.
- Helps the church to reflect on the Bible and its role to meet the needs of others.
- Helps identify resources in the church.
- Builds relationships.
- Confidence is built by working in a team.
- Helps the church become a growing community, sharing experiences and achievements.
Key stages of Missional Congregations
(i) Envisioning and equipping the church
Missional Congregations is about working with the church leaders and members to help them understand their biblical responsibility to serve their local communities. The process will help to build the confidence of the church members and help them identify their strengths and resources, so that they can believe that change is possible.
(ii) Envisioning the community
The church, once envisioned, works to bring the community together to discuss the needs and resources of the community, to gather and analyse information, and to decide what needs to change.
Once everyone is agreed on what needs to change, the church and community work together in developing a vision for the future and planning how they can bring about this change, using their own resources. This will involve thinking about setting up a project in the community. A project is defined as an initiative which is designed and run by the community using its own resources.
(iv). Taking action
Once the community start taking action, all sorts of advice is provided to help to ensure that the plans are carried out and positive change happens.
The last stage should be a review of how the church and the community have worked together to plan and run projects to improve the lives of individuals and the community. This should also include insights and learning for how the process of motivating and encouraging the church and community to work together could be improved in the future
In conclusion all the various projects the church is now undertaking are as a result of being missional as a church. As a department we work tirelessly to ensure that there is community organization, social justice and community development in the community in which the church is situated. The idea behind this concept is to make the church functional and visible in our communities.
Prepared by: Deaconess M.K. Sichali.
Dillard J. & Reilly R. (1988) Systematic Interviewing Communication Skills for Professional Effectiveness. Columbus O.H. Merrill Publishing Company.
Njoroge F., Tulo R., Crooks B., and Mauradian J. (2009) Umoja Transforming Communities. Coordinator’s guide. Mosaic Creative. © Tear-fund. Published by Tear-fund. A Compony Limited by guarantee