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We hope to see churches and communities transformed

We inspire and support the church to be active, vibrant and living out a theology of integral mission so that people in their communities experience whole-life transformation.

We believe that poverty is the result of broken relationships between God and humanity. Our work focuses on restoring four important relationships: how we relate to God, to ourselves, to others and to the environment.

Local churches begin a lifelong journey when they embrace and commit to partnering in God’s mission to bring restoration in all four of these areas. This journey empowers them, changes mindsets and brings about ‘whole-life’ change in both the congregation and the community.

The church responds to the needs of their local community holistically and from within. As a result, people are lifted out of poverty and lives are transformed. Church and Community Transformation (CCT) approaches vary around the world but are all based on a theology of integral mission and have a vision for whole-life transformation.

These approaches are locally owned, sustainable and empowering. They start with biblical reflection that enables churches and communities to have a deep-rooted understanding of their identity and potential, and helps change mindsets. Sometimes, the entry point for CCT is accompanying churches to address a specific issue, such as migration or creation care, but the focus is always on transformational change and a call to action, which encourages church and community members to mobilise resources to meet the needs they have identified in their community.

This year we are celebrating

What we learnt

We commissioned the largest independent study Tearfund has ever embarked on: Local Church, Lasting Transformation. We worked with State of Life to measure the impact of our CCT work and had our findings peer reviewed. This was a large and pioneering study: we surveyed almost 8,000 people in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. We compared people actively involved in CCT activities with others in the wider community and in communities where CCT has not started.

The remarkable results showed that CCT brings positive whole-life transformation, which is sustained and far-reaching and is of great value. We found: There is 27 per cent higher life satisfaction among CCT communities. Every £1 that Tearfund invests in a CCT process unlocks £7 of additional resources within a community. Nine out of ten communities that participated in CCT built new or improved community assets, such as schools and roads.

This is year one of a multi-year study, and we will be repeating the research in more countries next year. Read more about the study on Tearfund Learn.

We know we can go further

In many contexts where we are using CCT processes, literacy levels are low, so large numbers of people are excluded from leading them or taking part. We have adapted the manual for one of our CCT processes so it can be facilitated entirely orally, and have piloted its use in Sierra Leone. We need to do the same for our other CCT processes. We are scaling up our ambition for CCT and have set a target of 250,000 churches in 5-7 years becoming centres of transformation for their communities. We will do that by stepping up the work we do to influence churches and denominations for Integral Mission.

Going forward in 2023/24 We aim to:

  • continue the large-scale study of our work to measure the impact of CCT in four further countries in different contexts
  • launch an online CCT training curriculum
  • mobilise 100 new denominations

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