There came a point in my life when I began to wonder what life as a Christian really meant. I was questioning why there were still so many desperately poor people, injustice, war-torn communities, preventable disease, widows, and orphans, many of whom live in countries that claim to be primarily Christian. If there are so many Christians in this world, why wasn’t there more of a difference? And yet, the even bigger question I had was what could I do, as a Christian, to influence the world around me? Everyone lives in some sort of community, and regardless of whether you are rich or poor, God wants everyone to have life abundantly. That is the reason why I took the Community Development School. Community development focuses on transforming communities that are stuck in life-destroying cycles to communities that are living in abundant life.
During my time in Zimbabwe for the Community Development practicum, a woman I will call Anne told me her story. When Anne was a teenager, her father passed away. Times were already hard for their family, but once her father died, the family became destitute. In order to help support her family, Anne dropped out of school and became a seller of snacks for buses that would stop along the main road. The first day of work, she did not sell a single snack because she lacked the courage to go up to the bus windows to show her goods. She went home defeated. However, the second day, was different. She claimed confidence in Christ and sold so many snack that her mother scolded her when she returned because she thought Anne must have been stealing! Anne continued to help support her family in the family farm, and through these means, her family was able to pull themselves out of poverty. Anne eventually married and had a daughter of her own. When her own husband passed away, Anne was able to continue providing for her family since she knew that God would not abandon her and her daughter. Today she is sending her daughter to university (rare for the village they’re from) and is encouraging and helping the community to seek abundant life that can come through Christ.
Community development is the call of each individual Christian as well as the whole body of Christ to be the catalysts of change in communities. Community development is a call to action and and a challenge to live intentionally for Christ.
Are you interested in learning more about how you can be a catalyst of change through community development? We offer a 3 Month Community Development School here in Montana followed by an optional 3 month outreach. Learn more about our Community Development School by clicking the image below.
We also offer a shorter, 4 Week, Community Development Seminar. Learn more about the Community Development Seminar by clicking the image below.