Publication Date

2006

Abstract

This Capstone Paper provides inquiry to the question of What Roles Do Faith-Based Organizations Play in African American Community Development? The sub-questions asked were: Is an inner transformation needed to accompany successful community development? And To what extent is faith-based community development a viable form of community development in predominantly African American communities? The paper presents information pertaining to faith-based organizations and their roles within African American communities. Emphasis is placed on Christian organizations. The research provides examples and critiques of faith-based community development strategies. The formal inquiry started in early December 2005 and was completed mid- February 2006. Techniques utilized to obtain information from subjects included observation, written and spoken interview questions and informal conversation. Interviews were structured in various formats ranging from formal to semiformal and were conducted in numerous environments, i.e., churches, nightclubs, basements or dining room tables. This research concludes that the roles of faith-based organizations vary depending on the particular organizations level of dedication to actually utilizing faith as their bases for implementing community development activities. Faith-based organizations within African American communities have the capacity to provide a necessary and positive exterior transformation - the tangible community contributions. However, their intrinsic value lies within their ability to foster inner transformation - contributions that affect the belief systems and behavior of individuals impacted by the community development activities of the faith-based organization. The data collected suggests that Christian faith-based organizations have been or can be effective to some degree in addressing and correcting socio-economic problems within African American communities.

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