Can You Learn Something Good From “Playing God”?

We generally use the term “Playing God” to

ground group growth hands
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

describe a bad thing. But let’s try to think of some ways that are a bit more positive. Being a parent (or a pet owner) and leading a government involves a bit of playing God— embracing some of the roles that God has, but on a smaller scale. In fact a couple of metaphors for God are “Heavenly Father” and “King.” However, I would look at being a Community Developer as also being an analog for many of the roles of God  A community developer seeks to take on a redemptive role among people, and to help and transform.

What are some things one learns as a community developer?

  1.  One generally learns that what people need and what they think they need are not the same. While a CD practitioner may start with paying attention to felt needs, staying with felt needs usually means working on fixing symptoms rather than curing the disease(s). Ultimately, that doesn’t bring long-term change.
  2.  Symptoms of a problem are less important than the underlying problems and one must really learn to seek the underlying problems and work on them.
  3.  Solving problems for people tends to backfire. Solving problems for people tends to make them more dependent… and that dependence often makes the underlying problems worse, not better.
  4.  CD practioners are generally seen as needing to live with and identify with the people they serve.
  5. Serving is the critical term. The goal is not to lead long-term, but to train, empower, and release people to lead themselves.

Let’s just stop at these five and consider how these may be analogous to some of the areas of theology that we struggle with.

  1.  God does not always give us what we want. God does not always answer our prayers as we wish and this does not always give us what we want. This is based on  His love for us, not His indifference or his anger.
  2.  God focuses more on our underlying problems (such as our moral brokenness and social disconnectedness) rather than the symptoms that we tend to talk about more, and more interested in having “fixed.” God may uses awesome signs to open the door… but seeks to move from there to more core issues soon. These core issues are not fixed by miraculous signs.
  3.  God doesn’t hand out “prosperity” because it is typically bad for us. As broken, selfish, disconnected people, the power associated with prosperity is likely to make our situation worse, not better.
  4.  God does not help us from a distance. God is not fully transcendent. God is very much immanent— in the temple, in the incarnation of Christ, and in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  The presence of God is not irrelevant but key to our transformation.
  5.  God chooses to work primarily through people. Dependence on God is tied to recognizing our need for God, but is NOT tied in God trying to keep us incompetent. God seeks our development and empowerment to serve. God serves us so we can serve Him, and others. We are blessed by God, not to live in a state of being blessed, but to be blessings for others.

 

 

HCICD — Holistic Church-Initiated Comdev

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Years ago when I was looking into a topic for my dissertation, I wanted to study, utilizing grounded theory, HOLISTIC CHURCH-INITIATED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, in the Philippines.

In the end, I dropped it. I switched to studying Christian medical missions events here in the Philippines. The main reason for this was that I had trouble finding many examples of holistic church-initiated community development. Generally one of three things exist:

  • The ministry is not holistic. Ministries from churches tend to be spiritualistic or tend to be social, but rarely do a good job of bringing these things together to deal with the whole person.
  • If the ministry is holistic, it is not normally church-initiated. It tends to be a ministry initiated by NGOs, or cooperatives, local government, or international agencies. Often,
  • If the ministry is holistic, and church-initiated, it is not community development. It is often church-development. That is, the focus is on developing or growing the church, not primarily helping people or the community.

I prefer holistic ministries, but some ministries are always going to be more limited. And there is nothing wrong with some programs being initiated by groups other than churches. But the last one is more my concern. Many churches struggle conceptually with the idea that they should place greater focus on people rather than the success of their church.

And this is a general problem that often comes up with people and organizations all over the world, and I will repeat it here:

ONE SHOULD NEVER PLACE AN INSTITUTION ABOVE PEOPLE.

One should not put the church above people inside, or outside, the church

One should not put one’s government above people

One should not put the institution of marriage above the individuals in the marriage

One should not place the Sabbath above those in need

Anyway, our counseling center is utilizing “ihug” with Celebrate Recovery for dealing with those struggling with illegal drugs. I like the fact that it seeks to be holistic (S.O.S. — Social, Occupational, Spiritual). They prefer for it to be church-initiated (although not required). And the goal is for it to be missional… benefiting those in need with no requirement, explicit or tacit, that the local church will gain directly from the ministry.

Not a bad idea.

Valleyview, a Short Story

This story was used by the Mendozas of Holistic Community Development and Initiatives (HCDI) in its Training of Trainers program for CHE (Community Health Education). I don’t really know who came up with the story first. I modified it just a bit.

————————————-

There was a small mountain village we can call “Valleyview.” The mountain it is on is very steep and so the only connection to the surrounding world was a steep, winding, dangerous footpath.

Unfortunately, the villagers would have to walk down this path to go to River City to sell their products and pick up supplies. Sometimes this treacherous path would claim a victim as a villager would slip and tumble down to the valley below.

Usually the one who tumbled down the hill would not be killed, but would only be maimed. He would lie at the bottom of the mountain trail until a vehicle driving through the valley would spot him and pick him up to take him to the clinic. Or perhaps another villager coming down the hill would spot him and run ahead to River City to get help.

Clearly this was not a good situation, so the villagers had a meeting to come up with a good solution. After a lot of discussion, they come up with a wonderful idea… PLAN A.

PLAN A was to pay a villager to stay at the bottom of the hill. When someone tumbled down the hill, he would be ready to get immediate help. And the plan would work. When someone tumbled down the hill, the paid guard would quickly run to River City, and get help.

Eventually, the villagers became unhappy with the situation. If the guard at the bottom of the mountain could not hitchhike a ride on the way to River City, the injured villager may end up lying at the bottom of the mountain for an hour before medical help could arrive. After further discussion, a new plan arose… PLAN B.

PLAN B was to give the guard at the bottom of the hill a vehicle… an ambulance. When someone fell off the path and landed in the valley, the guard could quickly lift him into the ambulance and drive off to River City to be treated. This was great, for awhile. But it was rather expensive to maintain a vehicle and pay someone whose only job was to drive the injured to River City to be treated. But then came a brilliant idea… PLAN C.

PLAN C was so obvious. Why drive them off to River City to be treated? Why not treat them where they are? So the villagers built a medical clinic at the bottom of the path. Now as soon as someone fell off the path, a medical team and equipment was immediately available to provide help.

And perhaps this would have been a satisfying solution, if it were not for the high cost of maintaining the clinic, and the lost labor due to injured villagers stuck healing at the clinic. For a long time the village dealt with the burden of PLAN C because it seemed to be the only good solution.

But one day, a child in the village, was asked to go to River City. He had never been off the mountain before. Looking down the path, he got scared and said, “I’m not going down there until someone puts in a handrail.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

—————————–

This story is used to show the value of prevention over cure. In health, we often focus on pills, hospitals, and operations. Yet the better focus in health is diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Additionally, in missions, we often focus on money solutions. Throw money at problems. A medical clinic is impressive and one can put a big brass plate on it. But a better solution, a handrail is less impressive, and is not as easily explained to supporters. Supporters love hospitals, but may not value handrails.

Missions should be more focused on prevention and transformation rather than dealing with the aftermath of problems. Missions should also be more focused on the needy rather than on supporters

Challenges to Church-Initiated Community Development in the Philippines

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3/challenges-in-doing-churchinitiated-christian-development-in-the-philippines&#8221; title=”Challenges in Doing Church-Initiated Christian Development in the Philippines ” target=”_blank”>Challenges in Doing Church-Initiated Christian Development in the Philippines </a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3&#8243; target=”_blank”>Bob Munson</a></strong> </div>

I was originally thinking about doing my dissertation on this topic. Then I realized that there were so few churches in the Philippines that do real community development (most focusing on “relief” type ministry, if they are involved in social ministry at all). So I switched to medical missions. However, I did write this little paper before making the switch.

Medical Missions Events in the Philippines, Part V

This is the last section on Medical Mission Events. This is based on my dissertation. The focus of the dissertation was the use of medical mission events in the Philippines for long-term impact in a community by a local church. As such, the traditional medical mission is inadequate. Traditional medical missions typically have little long-term impact. Here are some

Medical Mission in Sagada, Mountain Province

suggestions:

1. Medical Missions needs a committed local presence. That commitment is to wholistic concern for the community. A church that simply “wants to grow” is not enough since the desire of itself can be simply selfish. A church that is concerned for the community and the people in the community needs to focus on reaching out to the community rather than trying to lure people in.

2.  Medical Missions events should do more than simply short-term medical care. There are a number of ways to do this:

-Provide health and hygiene training as part of the medical care.

-Use the mission as a catalyst for bringing together concerned entities within a community for long-term programs

-Provide training programs integrated into the medical mission or operating in parallel.

<Consider training such as provided by http://hepfdc.info/Health_Screening.html   or   http://www.lifewind.org>

3.  Intentionally plan for long-term ministry. This plan should gradually transition the outside team from providing the majority of services to being technical support. This requires training for local leaders, and material transfer.

4.  Work with local authorities, not just religious groups. Utilize and partner with local health and social services.

5.  Recognize transformation and evangelism in terms of gradual change, not quick fixes. God may have taken only 6 days to make the world, but after all of this time He is still not done transforming it. Consider a dictum from Engineering. Engineers like to say (when asked to design something) “The design can be Quick, Cheap, or High Quality. You can choose any two of the three.” If it is quick and cheap, it will be low quality. If it is cheap and high quality, it will not be quick. If it is quick and high quality, it will not be cheap. Same with ministry. High quality ministry takes time. I, frankly, am not sure that throwing more money at it will allow one to reduce the time.

6.  Medical missions should be done “right”. A major purpose for medical missions is to express love and goodwill in a community in a form that can be recognized and appreciated. Therefore doing things poorly, sabotages that purpose. Here are a few things I have seen (shockingly enough) done in medical missions… that obviously should not be done:

-Bringing too little medicine (or medical samples or random medical donations).

-Bringing expired medicines.

-Hard-sell evangelism. Filipinos will typically say what people want them to say (especially if given something). Missions is not about getting people to “say stuff.” It is about changing lives.

-Bait-and-switch tactics. Don’t offer more of what people want and then switch and more of what you want.

-Having inadequate medical personnel. Inadequate can be in number, training, and licensing.

-Failing to limit the number of patients.

<The last one seems strange to some people. Consider an evangelistic concert. If 50 people come, that is okay. If 500 come that is great. If 5000 come that is excellent.> But not so in medical missions. If you have medical personnel and medicines for 500 people, if 1000 people come, a large number of people will be unhappy… at you and who you represent. It is better to have a smaller group that is treated well, than a large number treated poorly.>

I am sorry if these 5 posts are a bit disjointed. The dissertation is much much longer with much much more information. Instead of boring people with that, I just wanted to hit a few points on medical missions. Summing things up:

  1.           Doing a good job is more important than doing a big job
  2.           Preparing for long-term ministry is more important than an impressive short-term event
  3.       Demonstrating goodwill and God’s love in a tangible way is more important than “wowwing” the crowd

These three points are true with nearly all ministries.

Relevant Book: Healthy Christian Medical Missions

Perspectives in Relief and Development

There has been a lot of concerns about Christian missions and its role in RELIEF and in DEVELOPMENT. Much of this is in the area of perception. Here is some variety with regard to perspective regarding these forms of social ministry.

1.  Perspectives regarding the relationship between these forms of social ministry and “spiritual” ministry in mission work. Jerry Ballard ( “Missions and Holistic Ministry.” In World Missions: The Asian Challenge: A Compendium of the Asia Mission Congress ’90, (Held in Seoul, Korea August 27-31,1990), 342-344) speaks of 5 basic perspectives. These are:

a)  Spiritualist. Spiritualistic ministries (evangelizing, discipling, church-planting, etc.) are the only God-ordained ministries. Other ministries distract.

b)  Social Gospel. Doing good, socially, IS doing Christian mission.

c)  Convenience. Spiritual ministry is the only REAL ministry, but social ministry does not distract from REAL ministry as long as one has adequate time and resources. (It is nice to be nice)

d)  Ulterior Motive. Social ministry opens the door for Spiritual ministry (which is the “real” ministry work of missionaries).

e)  Wholistic (or holistic). Ministry is concern for the whole person in their social setting. Therefore, ministry must be holistic… social and spiritual.

Social-Spiritual Ministry Spectrum

The people I tend to work with tend to be either “Ulterior Motive” or “Wholistic”.

The problem with the perspective of ulterior motive is that it devalues the person (don’t really care about the person so much as “saving souls”). Additionally, it tempts one to do “bait and switch”. On the other hand, Jesus did social ministry because of compassion (holistic) and as a sign (ulterior motive). So saying what is the absolutely correct perspective is not cut and dry.

2.  Perspectives of social ministry in the social sciences. Social ministry can seem like a no-win situation. Relief work can be perceived as charitable or paternalistic. Development can be viewed as transformational or as culturally imperialistic. The good news is that you simply can’t please everyone so you don’t have to. However, it is good to listen to both supporters and detractors. Relief can drift from an edifying work to a destructive work. The same can be true of development.

3.  Perspectives of development and relief (from their own proponents). The biggest detractors of Christian relief tends to be from Christian community developers. To developers, relief disempowers, demotivates, and creates dependence. Of course, people doing Christian relief can point out problems in development. Development has a high failure rate, and is too slow to deal with immediate problems.

Double Vortice Model

Focusing on the third perspective area, I (as usual) prefer a Both/And idea rather than an Either/Or.

The diagram above is the “Double Vortice Model” that was part of my dissertation on medical missions. It suggests that when outsiders come in, they have the resources and skills. Thus, initially, health ministry in a community is focused more on relief (although partnership and collaboration with local individuals and groups is still essential). One can see that as the right vortex being dominant… outsiders coming in, partnering with locals, carrying out wholistic ministry, and going away, with the possibility of repeating the cycle as necessary. However, locals have the cultural knowledge and the long-term presence, so to move from “healthy” relief to “healthy” development, there must be skills and resource transfer to the local population so that the left vortex will eventually dominate (with limited continuation of the relief cycle since there is no society on earth that is completely self-sufficient).

An unhealthy situation is where there are no skills or resource transfer to the local population (or no partnership). Jesus fed the 5000 as a relief ministry of compassion. This demonstrated His concern for their immediate short-term needs. That was good. But if he fed them every day… what was a wonderful expression of love and a sign of the Kingdom of God, would become damaging. This would create dependency and diminish local capacity to deal with problems. On the other hand, a complete absence of outside support lives in denial of our own interdependence. We are stronger as we share, learn, and grow with and through each other.

Dependence is not the ideal, but neither is Independence. We all need Interdependence.

Community Development and Nehemiah

Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem
Nehemiah and the Walls of Jerusalem. Image via Wikipedia

I wrote an article a few years ago called “Wholistic Ministry and Nehemiah.” One of the central points was that we often think of development backwards. I pointed out that Nehemiah worked to create change in a specific order.

It is strange that when people think of Nehemiah, they focus on “THE WALL”. While it is true that the wall takes up several chapters of the book, but there is so much more.

Consider some of the problems Nehemiah dealt with… presumably in chronological order.

1.  Lack of a city wall around Jerusalem  (STRUCTURAL PROBLEM) Chapters 1-4

2.  Debt/Usury/Oppression of citizenry (ECONOMIC PROBLEM) 5:1-13

3.  Taxation issues (ECONOMIC) 5:14-19

4.  Housing problems (STRUCTURAL) 7:4-73

5.  Ignorance of God’s Law (SPIRITUAL/EDUCATIONAL) Chapter 8

6.  Sorrow about Sinfulness (SPIRITUAL/EMOTIONAL) Chapters 8-9

7. Need for population relocation (SOCIAL)  Chapter 11

8. Temple/Religious problems (LEADERSHIP) 12:44 – 13:13

9.  Breaking of Religious Laws (SOCIAL/LEADERSHIP) 13:14 – 15:30

What problems were dealt with first?

A.  Nehemiah dealt with felt needs first. What were the felt needs?  The people felt they needed walls, they felt they needed housing, and financial relief. They did not feel that they had spiritual problems. By first addressing the people’s felt needs, they were more open to recognize other needs that they had. Additionally, by demonstrating his willingness to listen and respond to their needs, Nehemiah was seen as someone who cared for the people.

B.  Nehemiah dealt with the easy things first. We might be fooled into thinking that building the wall was the most difficult thing in the book of Nehemiah… but it wasn’t. The Great Wall of China was built with money and coersion. Nehemiah had money and authority, so this problem was fairly straitforward. The wall took 52 days of labor. Wouldn’t it be great if all community problems could be solved in less than two months if enough money and manpower could be thrown at it? The financial and housing circumstances were fairly simple since Nehemiah had the authority to make, modify, and enforce laws. But social and spiritual problems are more difficult. You cannot coerce spiritual changes, and social problems, likewise, have a nasty habit of resisting legislation. The most difficult were leadership difficulties. Local leaders have power. The power that these leaders had, Nehemiah needed at the beginning to get things done. To turn against these leaders at a later date, was a great risk. Nehemiah did the easy things first. By doing this, he developed the reputation of being a problemsolver, and ultimately gained the influence he needed to do more difficult things later. We often think that the big  problems we face are ones involving money and manpower… but these are the easy ones. 

C.  Nehemiah appeared to be focused on God, focused on the needs of the people, and open to a level of pragmatism. It is quite evident that God loved the people of Jerusalem and that he was dedicated to serving God. However, we often don’t notice his pragmatism because we focus on Nehemiah’s uncompromising attitude with the opponents of the wall. However, he showed a great willingness to work with local leaders who were highly flawed, only addressing the problem with these leaders at a much later date.

It would seem that these provide good principles to follow when possible. Prioritize concerns the community has. The community is more ready to support working on what they value. Of these concerns, prioritize those that you are well suited to achieve based on your experience, resources, and authority. Later on one can (and should) expand to changes that are needed, but may not be immediately appreciated by the community. Finally, we need to accept a certain amount of pragmatism in our plans and methods as long as they don’t contradict our love of God and the people we are serving.

 

 

Challenges of Church-Based COMDEV in the Philippines (Part 2)

<Continued>

B.  Challenges Associated with the Philippines

1.  Cultural Factors

-“Utang na loob“. This term literally means “inside debt”. This is an implied obligation one experiences after receiving a gift or help. Since community development is about interdependency, “utang na loob” tends to prevent this interdependency. Instead, it tends to promote dependency (“rice Christian” effect)

-“Bahala na”. This term describes a sort of resignation to fate or luck. Quoting Tomas D. Andres, “Bahala na works against Individual and social progress, … It harnesses one’s behavior to a submissiveness that eats up one’s sense of responsibility and personal independence. It provides one with a false sense of self-confidence to proceed with an unsound action in the belief that somehow one will manage to get by.” Bahala na sounds Christian (Thy will be done), but only if one confuses a personal God with impersonal fate.

-Datu mentality. The datu (local leader) mentality limits growth and innovation because of the tendency of decisions to be made by one with little creativity. Community development works best when the creativity and power is shared broadly within the community.

2.  Historical Factors.

-As mentioned before, community development in the Philippines came through the government, foreign government, and non-governmental organizations. Therefore, churches lack history in community development.

-Historically, the track record of the community development groups are questionable. Often based on flawed beliefs (or theology), or bad methodology, there is little real change seen.

-Many churches assume all government to be corrupt, so to work with governmental organizations is impossible, or will lead to compromise.

C.  Non-contextual Factors

-The tendency of money to create dependency. Glenn Schwarz has pointed out that if rich countries simply giving money to poor communities worked, “then Haiti should be a shining example of development in our world.” Dependency destroys rather than develops.

-Development is often linked to economic wealth. Wealth doesn’t always develop a community… sometimes it destroys it. To develop wholistically (not just economically) is a challenge.

-Although development is not about money, money will always be a factor. The lack of money in communities makes local church-based development difficult.

-Another problem is the uncertain role of social ministry within the church. Ballard describes five basic attitudes:  Spiritualistic, “Social Gospel”, Convenience, Ulterior Motive, and Wholism. Only a wholistic attitude is likely to genuinely produce solid interdependent community development. However, this may require a major change in attitude of the local church

-Fragmentation is another problem. Partnership is needed for community development, but that means mature sharing of power and vision. However, people and organizations like to accumulate power and act according to their own vision.

-Outside help is often needed to do community development, but leadership must be developed within the community to take over. Power and skills must be transferred to to local elements.

0000000000000000000000000

So, can the church be involved in community development in the Philippines? YES.  It has much to offer.

1.  Community development should be wholistic… this means that it concerns itself with all aspects important to human and social development. This includes spiritual.

2.  Churches SHOULD provide a model of interconnectedness in community. If they don’t, there is something wrong with the church.

3.  Local churches are already in the community. They are an important institution that exists incarnately within the broader community.

4.  Churches already have a (hopefully wise ) group of leaders within the community that can help with development.

Additionally, there are characteristics of the Philippines that can help with community development.

1.  The barangay system sets up community government. This removes some of the difficulty of setting up community structures for development.

2.  The Catholicism of the Philippines helps. The common understanding of God and His role in reaching out to communities and individuals is important to wholistic work.

3.  “Pakikisama” and “Bayanihan” are two Philippine cultural traits that describe coming together with purpose for common good. Building community development in line with these cultural values may be more successful than in the US where Individualism takes precedence.

GOOD EXAMPLES OF REAL CHURCH-BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IS LIMITED IN THE PHILIPPINES… BUT TIMES ARE CHANGING. LET’S PRAY THAT THE CHANGES OCCUR SOON.

Challenges of Church-Based COMDEV in the Philippines (Part I)

This is a brief summary of issues brought up from interviews with 
community development specialists and church leaders in the Philippines 
in 2007. I have seen nothing to suggest that things have changed. 
Community Development, I believe, is a critical component for the church
and church members in being salt and light to the world. And... assuming
the world does not end suddenly in 2011 or 2012 (as popular apocalypticists 
keep on about), wholistic development is critical in transforming the 
hearts of individuals as well as communities.
Church-based Bamboocraft Program in Baraoas, La Union, Philippines
In the study, the challenges were broken down into three basic 
categories. These are:  
1. Challenges within the Philippine Church context 
2. Challenges within the Philippine context 
3. Non-contextual challenges 


1. Challenges within the Philippine Church context 
A. Bad Theology 
Bad Theology #1. Religious Dualism. Many in church maintain a strong 
belief that there is a major gulf between the sacred and the secular. 
This in itself is not bad. However, these churches then suggest that 
that which is sacred is for churches to involve themselves, while the 
secular is to be ignored by the church. Unfortunately, many churches 
believe that the physical, educational, social, and emotional needs of 
the surrounding community are secular, and thus, not their problem. 


Bad Theology #2. Separatism. Churches often seek to maintain a social 
purity... trying to remove the "stain of the world." Sadly, this often 
means that these churches do not interact with other people and 
institutions within their community. These churches often become 
insular... failing to make an impact with those around them. 


Bad Theology #3. Lack of Contextualization in Community Development. 
Community Development and Wholism are primarily Western concepts. 
They have entered the Philippines through secular and religious NGOs
as well as government agencies. There has been little work to develop 
these as Philippine Theology. This failure makes community development 
seem foreign to local churches. 


Bad Theology #4. Individualism. Churches, particularly Evangelical 
Churches tend to accept the Western ideal of Individualism. The church 
should focus on individual conversion, individual discipleship, 
individual development. Many churches have a hard time recognizing that 
other social groupings have any value at all. When a church sees a 
community as an aggregate of individuals, there is little to make the 
church value community transformation. 


Bad Theology #5. Apocalypticism. Of course, with different groups 
calling the return of Christ as occurring in 2011 or 2012, there is 
little to motivate churches to invest in community transformation. Scare 
tactics and mass evangelistic techniques seem to make more sense. This 
has been around for along time. St. Paul had to reprove people in the 
church of Thessalonica for sitting around being a burden on the church 
because they believed that Christ was returning at any moment. However, 
Jesus said to be faithful until the end... not making foolish decisions 
because of trying to efficiently "time" His return. If the church had 
spent more time seeking to mercy and justice to transform their 
communities physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually rather than 
trying to focus on date-setting, I believe the church over the last 
several decades would not be drifting towards irrelevancy. 


B. Lack of Resources. Philippine churches typically feel they lack the 
financial, material, and human resources to do community development. 
This is, to some extent false. Community development requires more will 
then wallet. This is, also, to some extent self-fulfilling. That is 
because if you do not train your membership to do community development, 
and you do not develop the material resources, than you (not surprisingly) 
lack these resources. 


C. Focus on Relief. Churches almost always focus on quick-fixes, bait and 
switch, and disaster relief. The idea of a long-term commitment to 
minister outside of itself, is quite foreign and scary to most 
Philippine churches.


D. Lack of Example. Since most community development is done by government 
agencies or NGOs, churches lack good examples of church-based or 
church-initiated community development. When I was working on my 
dissertation from Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary a few years 
ago, I had originally decided to do my paper as a Grounded Theory Analysis 
of Church-based or Church-initiated Community Development in the 
Philippines. I decided I had to change topics due to a lack of source 
material.