How does Tearfund work
with the local church?
The Good News of the Bible calls all followers of Jesus to feed the poor, speak up for the oppressed, and to seek justice. Our goal at Tearfund Canada is to equip and mobilize local churches to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs around them.
But how exactly does Tearfund work with the local church?
Start with ‘why’
In order to answer the ‘how’, we must start with the ‘why’:
God cares deeply for all of creation. Since we are made in God’s image and likeness, we are called to be active agents of restoration, justice and peace in this broken world. We believe this is the calling of the global church.
When we look at the example of Jesus, he ministered to the whole person. During his earthly ministry, he attended to physical, socio-emotional, and spiritual needs. He healed people physically, treated women, outcasts, the poor and foreigners as equals, and taught his followers the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
After his death, resurrection and ascension, the church has carried on the teachings and practices that Jesus taught. At Tearfund, want to see the church flourish and continue to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom to all people.
Church-Based Community Transformation
The local church is part of the largest civil society organization on the planet. Churches operate in almost every village where Tearfund serves. They have been there for years, and will be there for generations to come. Local churches have knowledge of the local context and communities, and can promote cultural and social acceptance, justice and equality.
By training local churches to expand their ministry to care for the whole person, we seek to unleash them to be a catalyst for long-term sustainable change. This means that in addition to their existing activities of worship and preaching, we encourage local churches to engage in programs that care for the poorest in their community.
Tearfund’s international programs in each country are always led by the local church. Whether it is Conservation Agriculture, Village Savings Groups, Emergency Relief, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Recovery or Creation Care programs, the local church always takes the lead.
Tearfund Canada’s International Program officers begin the partnership process by assessing where the needs are greatest. When a village, community or region is selected, we begin to look for churches who are already working to empower people and lift them out of poverty.
2) The church mobilizes the community
Tearfund Canada provides practical training and financial resources to strengthen the work of the local church. Churches then begin to increase their work with the community to tackle broken relationships at the root of poverty. Churches and individuals become equipped with life changing skills and know-how, such as Conservation Agriculture or Village Savings Groups, to help them escape extreme poverty for good.
3) The church and community are transformed
Projects can run through a local church for a few months or up to five years, depending on the need and funding of a particular project. The goal is to always strengthen the church and to transform the community so that Tearfund can work itself out of a job, knowing that people are becoming self-sufficient and being lifted out of poverty.