How researchers used Missional Action Research to make a real difference for displaced persons in Colombia
Christian scholars are often motivated to live the gospel by serving the vulnerable. But how do we put our academic research to practical use to help those in need? Christopher M. Hays explains how his interdisciplinary team of theologians, social scientists, pastors, and local partners combined efforts to support internally displaced persons of Colombia.
Over eight million people have been driven from their homes by violence perpetrated by paramilitary and guerilla groups in the past two decades. The Colombian government is unequipped to deal with the sheer magnitude of the crisis. To serve displaced persons in a more robust and holistic way, the Faith and Displacement project developed Missional Action Research. This innovative method incorporated direct leadership and participation from local churches and displaced persons with stakes in the research process. The resulting curriculum covered:
• Training in trauma-informed mental health care • Harnessing the unrecognized skills and resources of the community • Empowering displaced people economically through microenterprises and other ventures • Supporting participants with effective spiritual and pastoral care
Weaving survivors’ firsthand testimony with interdisciplinary theology, Eight Million Exiles will impress readers with the urgency of this conflict and inspire them with the model developed to address it. Let a small seminary in Medellín show you how to make a tangible difference in vulnerable communities.
Christopher M. Hays is president of Scholar Leaders , a ministry dedicated to cultivating theological leaders from around the globe. He holds a PhD in New Testament studies from the University of Oxford. For eight years, he taught New Testament studies at the Fundación Universitaria Seminario Bíblico de Colombia in Medellín, where he also directed the Faith and Displacement project.
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