JCA is a network that was formed a few years ago and now has around three hundred pastors spread across one state in India. This network recently organized a three day ‘Church Based Community Transformation’ training. It was attended by twenty-five pastors, including two women leaders. The first session started with them reflecting on and evaluating their activities, and asking the question, “why do we do what we do?” They were then asked to work out how they could improve on these activities for an even greater impact. The need for a holistic approach in ministry was heavily emphasized (charity versus empowerment).
With this concept as the foundation, the participants were taught through various case studies. They were introduced to the Transformation Group (TG) model as a great method for community organization. The TG model addresses the holistic needs of the people. On this topic, one participant shared: “Until now, we were focusing only on economic development when we stared groups. However, the session about holistic community transformation opened my eyes to focus on the needs beyond this. Now I will work with the people keeping this in mind.”
The other part of the training was on small business development. The participants were asked to list ideas for small businesses that would be practical for them to start. They were then were trained on Income Generating Activities. One participant shares: “This training will help me to motivate members in my community to start businesses confidently, as we will be able to use this knowledge to determine what businesses would turn a profit.”
One of the founders of JCA said excitedly, “Earlier during our training program, our members would only say that the training program was good, and nothing more. Now that they have completed a majority of it, they were speaking about specific practical applications for which it could be used in their respective areas of ministry.” At the end of the training, they have planned to form TGs, train their community members on small business development, and also motivate community members to start small businesses. JCA will follow up on this action plan, and evaluate what further trainings should be planned in the future.