Changing the church, changing the community
Changing the church, changing the community

Rev Gajendra Khan Thakuri is Pastor of Budhabare Baptist Church in
Letang  village, Morang District. There are more than 150 believers in
his church. He was looking for the best way to link with and enter into
the community, and he said he had struggled for quite a long time to
find a solution to overcome his challenges.

In 2012, UMN Sunsari
conducted Church and Community Mobilisation Process training (Sangsangai
in Nepal), and Gajendra was one of the participants.  “After
participating in the training, I understood the process and how to link
the church with the community to address common issues,” he says. He
strongly realised the importance and benefit of healthy relationships
between church and society. He even realised that the church has a role
to play as a change agent in society. When Sangsangai was introduced in
the church and the envisioning process began, the church identified
environmental issues as a key topic. “After discussion with the
community, we established a tree nursery and constructed a road
together,” says Rev Gajendra.  He not only mobilised his church members
in tree planting, but he also asked the community to participate. In
the beginning, they planted 300 tree seedlings in a field. Later, they
planted 100 more tree seedlings. He says, “Society has begun to
recognise the presence of the church in the community after tree
planting and other activities.”

At present, both the church and
community are actively involved in protecting the existing planted
trees. He said, “The church has a further plan to continue to work with
the community to conserve the environment with hope that working
together will be an opportunity to be witnesses to Christ through words
and actions.”

He has learnt the following lessons from the Sangsangai process:

  1. The usefulness of good co-ordination between church and community in development;
  2. The importance of positive thinking and team work among the members and leaders;
  3. The role of the church in mission;
  4. The need for church members’ skill development to be able to work with community;
  5. That the church will be accepted by society when working with the community.

By following the Sangsangai process, impact and change will be realised in the community – and in the church!

By Arjun Tamang
UMN Integral Mission Officer, Sunsari

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