PEOPLE REACHING PEOPLE
What is People Reaching People?
People Reaching People was started by World Mission Centre as a model for the church in South Africa, with the purpose of assisting the poor and the needy.
In 1991, a community development project was begun in the village of Mmakaunyane. This project not only helped meet the needs of the people of Mmakaunyane and empower them to help themselves, but it also helped us to more fully understand how to go about uplifting a community.
Today, the main focus of People Reaching People is to encourage and assist local churches in South Africa to partner with each other, meet each others needs, and work together to meet the needs of the poor and needy in their communities.
What is Community Development?
There are probably many different views and opinions when it comes to defining community development. For the sake of this program, we define community development as the process of raising a community up out of their poor standard of living by meeting their felt needs as well as empowering them through teaching and training so that they can enjoy a higher standard of living. In order to achieve sustainable results, community development must also include introducing people to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Community development must consist of physical, intellectual and spiritual upliftment.
Who must do it?
In South Africa today most of us are aware of the need for upliftment work in our communities – poor education, lack of skills, unemployment, people living in shacks, malnourished children, poor health, poverty – we see the needs, we hear the cries for help, but whose responsibility is it to help these people?
Man, in his fallen state, is selfish and does not generally consider the poor, but we, as Christians, have been restored and equipped to take up this responsibility.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10
Our responsibility as Christians includes meeting the needs of our own families (1Tim. 5:8), of our brothers and sisters in Christ (1Jn. 3:16-18), and of our neighbors (Matt. 22:39, Luke 10:30).
The Church in South Africa is in a position to reach all people at a grassroots level. Unforunately, many local churches in South Africa are ineffective at meeting the needs of those in their communities, because they themselves are struggling.
We believe that the solution lies in bringing together churches who are able with churches who are struggling in a unique partnership. In this partnership, Christians will meet the needs of other Christians and work together to meet the needs of the rest of their community; people will be reaching people.
God has entrusted an abundance of resources, knowledge, skills and gifts to the people in the church for the purpose of giving, teaching, serving, helping, encouraging and guiding the members of the Body of Christ. He has equipped the church physically, intellectually and spiritually to meet the felt and unfelt needs of the community. Let us therefore be good stewards of God’s grace.
The reason for this Directive
We would like to encourage and assist the local church in South Africa to take back its responsibility in the area of ministering to the poor and needy.
We would like to share what we experienced and learned during our time of community development in Mmakaunyane. We will also introduce the “Community Development Through Church Partnership” strategy, which we believe is the answer to uplifting the communities of our country.
We trust that this directive will open your eyes to the value of church partnership, to the needs around you, and to the potential which is in your church to change the poor and needy in your own and neighboring communities.