Mobilising Churches and Communities

Currently more than 12,500 local churches in over 40 countries are carrying out church mobilisation or church and community mobilisation that is impacting the lives of 6,250,000 people

Tearfund Church and Community Transformation baseline survey, 2018

Once the church and its leadership are envisioned for integral mission, they can be mobilised to act and respond to the needs of their local communities. In a rural setting, the needs of a local community, such as a village, would be addressed, but in an urban setting or on the outskirts of a town, the idea of 'local community' would be different and needs to be defined at the outset.

Models for working with local communities

From experience, once the local church is mobilised it has two options:

To take responsibility for identifying and responding to the needs of the community itself - Church Mobilisation

Church Mobilisation (CM) is about mobilising the local church and/or denominations to respond to the needs of their community. A church, or group of churches, is envisioned and mobilised to identify and respond to the needs of their community. The resulting initiatives are not predetermined normally but are based on the community needs assessment completed by the church. Sometimes, though, a church decides to address a specific, predetermined issue (for example, HIV or savings and loans) in the community and prepares the appropriate programmes or projects to achieve this.

CM does not focus on mobilising the wider community, rather it seeks to mobilise and enable the local church to meet the needs of the community. In this sense, it is a welfare approach because the church responds to the perceived needs of the community. This differs from church and community mobilisation because the church retains ownership in addressing the needs identified.  CM can be appropriate in contexts where the Christians are a marginalised minority without a voice in the community or where they are seeking to have a prophetic voice to change social norms.

To mobilise the community so that together church and community enter the process of identifying needs, mobilising resources and responding - Church and Community Mobilisation 

Where Tearfund and partners are involved in Church and Community Transformation, over 70 per cent of the local churches are using Church and Community Mobilisation (CCM). CCM has been introduced in more than 40 countries where it has been adapted to suit the specific country context often acquiring a new name whilst maintaining the key principles that define CCM as an approach.

Church and Community Mobilisation is the process where the local church works with its local community to identify and respond to their needs together. This is an exciting process of mobilising the community as the church begins to be ‘salt and light’ by encouraging and supporting communities to analyse their own situations, and to take steps to work together to make changes for the better.

How the church and community respond to the needs identified will vary. Responses may include self-help groups, improving infrastructure, advocating for improvement of or access to services or changes to unjust laws, and may also include projects to improve livelihoods.

Due to the breadth and variation of our CCM work around the world, we concentrate on principles rather than strict guidelines to give coherence to this work. These principles, based on evidence and learning, allow for contextualisation and promote sustainability of church and community transformation.

Resources for Church mobilisation

PILLARS: Mobilising the church (PDF 1 MB)
Our PILLARS guides are designed to be used in small groups and aim to provide material for discussions around a particular subject. This particular guide encourages churches to see their work not only in terms of sharing and teaching spiritual truths, but also in providing practical help and support within their communities.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 1 MB), Spanish (PDF 983 KB), Portuguese (PDF 1.1 MB), Arabic (PDF 1 MB) and Bangla (PDF 1.9 MB).

A guide to Church Mobilisation (PDF 32 KB)
This brief note lists 6 steps to church mobilisation.
Examples of churches doing church mobilisation (PDF 48 KB)
This brief note gives an overview of a few of Tearfund’s partners doing church mobilisation.

A guide for church mobilisation in difficult contexts (PDF 35 KB)
Based on the work of the Discipleship Centre Slum Development programme in Delhi, India, this guide presents one approach to establishing sustainable Christian communities in slum communities where there are no churches
Examples of mobilising local churches in difficult contexts (PDF 43 KB)
This brief note describes the work of 3 partners mobilising local churches in difficult contexts.

A guide to issue-focused church mobilisation (PDF 44 KB)
This guidance note lists 8 steps churches can follow when seeking to focus on a particular issue in their church or community.

A guide to mobilising large city churches (PDF 34 KB)
This brief note describes the principles to follow when working with large city churches.

Key principles for facilitators (PDF 38 KB)
This short guidance note provides a few principles facilitators of church mobilisation should follow.
There is also a more Detailed version of key principles for facilitators (PDF 75 KB)

An evaluation report comparing this model with other models of church mobilisation (PDF 444 KB)
This report provides an initial overview and assessment of five church-based community mobilisation based on the work of 11 Tearfund partners in the East and Southern Africa region. 

Case Studies

Church Mobilisation with the urban poor in Peru (PDF 95 KB)
Church Mobilisation in Malawi (PDF 124 KB)
Church Mobilisation on good stewardship in Kenya (PDF 93 KB)
Issue-focused church mobilisation in Zimbabwe  (PDF 78 KB) 
Mobilising a Large City Church in Mumbai, India (PDF 111 KB)
Discipleship Centre Slum Development Programme, India (PDF 77 KB)
Church Mobilisation in a Christian minority context, Senegal (PDF 54 KB)

our resources on church and community mobilisation

Umoja
Umoja is a Church and Community Mobilisation approach that Tearfund has helped to develop. This set of training manuals will help those who want to envision and equip the local church to work for transformation in their communities. Umoja contains: Bible studies, activities, tools, energisers, advice and a step-by-step process, helping churches gain a vision for community involvement, helping communities assess their needs and resources, and helping whole communities envision, plan and work for a better future.

Umoja facilitators guide front coverThe Umoja Facilitator’s Guide (PDF 3.3 MB) contains Bible studies, activities, energisers, tools, advice and a step-by-step process to help a church and community become inspired and start working for transformation in their community.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 3.9 MB) and Portuguese (PDF 3.3 MB).

Umoja coordinators guide front coverThe Umoja Coordinators Guide (PDF 1.1 MB) provides everything that an organisation or church needs to know to start and manage an Umoja programme across a number of local communities.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 4.2 MB) and Portuguese (PDF 1 MB).

Pillars mobilising the community front coverPILLARS: Mobilising the Community (PDF 1.1 MB)
Our PILLARS guides are designed to be used in small groups and aim to provide material for discussions around a particular subject. This particular guide looks at an exciting example of community mobilisation that is based on using outside facilitators and workshops.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 1.1 MB), Spanish (PDF 1.1 MB), Portuguese (PDF 1.2 MB), Arabic (PDF 1.3 MB) and Bangla (PDF 8.2 MB)

CCM Africa front cover

CCM in Africa (PDF 1.2 MB)
This booklet gives an introduction to the church and community mobilisation process (CCMP) in Africa, explaining the process and presenting evidence of impact.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 1.2 MB).

Key principles for CCM

Key principles for organisations involved in church and community mobilisation (PDF 35 KB)
This guidance note provides a list of principles for organisations to follow when involved in church and community mobilisation. The term ‘organisation’ here refers to Christian NGOs or networks working with a number of churches or a church denomination at national or regional level.
There is also a detailed version of key principles for organisations (PDF 99 KB)

Key principles for local coordination groups (PDF 30 KB)
This brief note gives key principles for local coordination groups involved in church and community mobilisation. These are groups of between four to ten local people are selected by the church and the community to work with the external facilitators in co-ordinating the process within their community.
There is also a detailed verson of key principles for local coordination groups (PDF 34 KB)

Key principles for the local church (PDF 31 KB)
By ‘local church’, we mean the local Christian congregation that the organisation is relating to in the community. This may be the local congregation of a denomination, such as the Anglican or Baptist Church, or it may be an independent church without formal denominational ties.
There is also a detailed version of key principles for the local church (PDF 53 KB)

Key principles for the community (PDF 32 KB)
By ‘local community’, we mean the community (village, urban district) in which the church and community mobilisation process is taking place and on which it is focused.
There is also a detailed version of key principles for the community (PDF 43 KB)