We create churches that transform their urban poor communities
Over the past century hundreds of millions of rural poor people have migrated to the world’s cities in search of a better life. Few find it. Today over a billion people live in desperate conditions in urban slums and squatter settlements, frequently without the basic necessities of life, much less the freedom and joy of the good news of Jesus. One out of every six people in the world today lives in an urban slum, with very few churches among them.
Driven to the city by hunger, drought, war, or the search for work, the poor arrive with little to nothing and make their homes in overcrowded urban slums which often lack water or sanitation. Their homes are makeshift and their tenure insecure. Slum and squatter neighborhoods are often dangerous and fraught with addiction and domestic violence. Slum dwellers work grueling hours for little pay, while many of their children also labor in horrendous conditions.
Although half the world’s population now lives in cities, most humanitarian agencies continue to focus their efforts on rural development. There is a desperate need for people to live among the urban poor as ministers of God’s hope and redeeming power, and to partner with them in transforming their communities. .
But what does transformation actually look like? We have developed 8 signs of a transforming community to help address this question. While change will look different around the world, we have identified these eight common elements of transformation. We strive to empower indiginous community members to take the lead and guide their own efforts in transformation; providing a broad framework to inform such indiginous leadership is essential.
SIGN 1: JESUS COMMUNITIES
SIGN 2: CIVIC GOOD
SIGN 3: LIFELONG LEARNING
SIGN 4: WEALTH AT THE BOTTOM
SIGN 5: PUSH FOR FREEDOM
SIGN 6: WHOLE FAMILIES
SIGN 7: HEALTH FOR ALL
SIGN 8: SYSTEMS THAT WORK