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Church and Community Transformation does exactly what it says on the tin. It is the whole community being impacted, changed, rebuilt, restored, envisioned, empowered and ultimately transformed in order for it to thrive – through (and starting with) the church.

Wherever in the world it may be, the local church is part of one body – Christ’s. And as Jesus came to reconcile man to God, to restore that relationship with him, so we – the church – are called to follow his example. Understanding that broken relationships between humans and God, between individuals and themselves and other humans, and between humans and creation, are at the root of all poverty – both spiritual and material – we work together toward being a part of God’s answer to this brokenness. We call this integral mission.

Integral Mission’s four key relationships at the root of restoration or poverty:

  • People’s relationship with God
  • Individual’s relationship with self
  • Humans’ relationships with each other
  • Humankind’s relationship with creation

In John 10:10, Jesus says, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’

Integral mission is a response to poverty, led by God’s word and the Holy Spirit, in search of this fullness. 

How it works

Over the last 30 years, Tearfund has helped develop processes and train facilitators to take local churches on a journey to achieve CCT.

Starting with Bible studies, church members are encouraged and empowered to reach out to their community to work together, to identify and mobilise local resources, and use these to overcome the challenges in their community.

Koffi Kan Afely in Côte d’Ivoire shares an example: ‘In the Bible study of Elisha, the Widow and her Oil, we learned  from the life of the widow that she was alone and was going through difficult times, but she still had resources. This is what inspired us. This is how we have started looking for the resources that we have and led us to set up our association and today things are better.’

The CCT journey empowers people, changes mindsets, and as individuals are impacted and restored in relationship with God, themselves, creation and each other, it brings about holistic transformation in both the church and the community – transformation which has the power to change futures and generations.

‘After the completion of the campaign, there is a sense of achievement within us that we were able to do something for our community. We will continue to serve our people in whichever way we can.’
Pastor, rural western Nepal

One pastor from Nigeria, Venerable Isaac Danung, explains what CCT has meant in his community: ‘When I was trained in integral mission we were asked a question that became a driving force in my life: “If we were to do ministry as Jesus did, how would we do it?”

‘Honestly, our pattern of ministry changed from that one question. It became participatory and used local resources that we had mobilised ourselves. As a church, we became the salt and light of the community. Together with the community, we established a healthcare centre where, so far, 234 babies have been delivered. A primary school was set up. Teenage marriage and pregnancy was reduced, and there were fewer divorces because relationships improved between men and women. Many theological colleges have come to us for learning visits because the change has been so great.’

Hamitoni Banda (40) in Malawi moved back to his village because he was struggling to earn a living in Lilongwe. After taking part in CCT training at Chirambi CCAP Church, he became a farmer and small business owner. He now shares his skills with the community and employs local people. Here, women from Hamitoni’s local church are employed to harvest ground nuts (peanuts). | Image Credit: Marcus Perkins/Tearfund

In context

Of course, each context has its own unique set of circumstances and challenges. As local communities take ownership of a particular CCT process, they will adapt and often rename it to reflect this. One of the most contextualised CCT processes is Sangsangai for use in Nepal.

Because the church in Nepal is small and marginalised, Sangsangai starts with the family.

The first cycle starts at the household level and helps families to explore new ways of thinking and build confidence as they are encouraged and empowered to begin with small projects and changes in their own lives.

The second cycle involves the local church, and these families begin to work together and initiate increasingly larger actions.

When the church feels ready and equipped to do so, these changes and learnings are moved out into the wider community.

An example

A village in rural western Nepal used to have a problem with its water source.

Animals and flood water entering the drinking water meant it was contaminated and people were often getting very ill with diarrhoea and fever. This was dangerous and had the knock-on effect of preventing children from going to school a lot of the time.

Because of their poverty, the community felt unable to do anything to protect the water source.

‘As a result of participating in the Sangsangai process, we began to understand the deeper-level issues of the Bible,’ says the village pastor. ‘We started to believe that we could  become salt and light, and began to identify problems and opportunities in our community and mobilise the available resources God had placed around us.’

The Bible study group decided to do something about the problem with the water source. They started by holding meetings in the community to discuss how they might find a way to protect it. Finally, everyone joined hands to take action.

‘The church has been successful in completing this work in collaboration with the community,’ says the pastor. ‘Now everyone in the village is drinking clean water. The children are attending school regularly. By working together, we are moving forward.’

Find out more about The Conversation and how CCT can work in your church context.

Find out more

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