Friday, February 1, 2008

A Christian Role in Community Organizing

I have recently been approached about participating in a congregation based community organizing effort.  This is connected to the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF).  They conduct listening campaigns to find out what things a community would like to see changed, then organize the community to put the right kind of pressure on the powers that be to effect that change.  I participated in an IAF group in Durham, NC.  They were effective at holding elected officials accountable, and putting pressure on them to work towards things like safer parks, after-school programs, etc.  It is an interfaith model that encourages congregations of different faiths to unite in causes without addressing theological similarities or differences.

Two questions:  
1)  Is this something Christian churches should seek to participate in?  I think it may be.  
2) What kinds of community changes might a wealthy suburban bedroom community made up people who consider themselves to fairly powerful and well-off work towards? 

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Hi Eric! Glad to see you're blogging. This week I'm going to try to start making a list of GNJ bloggers, so I will definitely include yours.

Peace,
Beth

greg. said...

hi - welcome to the blogging world! you have a couple of thought provoking posts here. keep it up! thanks.
greg.

Joe said...

Eric,

I think my participation in the community as mission and outreach is essential. I expect my congregation to be involved as well. If we care about our communities we can make a impact by acting as an agent of the church in love for positive change. There are situations that do come up though. Read my entry about Casino Night and let me know what you think.
http://www.lifeintheway.com/2008/02/12/casino-night-for-the-spotswood-educational-foundation/