Faith-rooted organizing is big on faithfulness, hanging in there, building relationships, training leaders, changing social structures and asking what it means to follow Jesus in today's world. It thus combines the best aspects of resource mobilization theory with what is now ubiquitously called 'framing,' and in this superb book by Alexia Salvatierra and Peter Heltzel, two leading Christian organizers give us a compelling account of what works and what doesn't.
Alexia and Peter's timely book not only demystifies faith-rooted advocacy and activism but centers it squarely in deep theology, the nature of the local church and the call of Christian discipleship. This will serve as an important guide for everyone seeking to translate compassion and conviction into effective community organizing and servant justice.
president of Kilns College
Although Jesus was both preacher and organizer, only recently have Christians begun to reclaim the task of organizing. As movements for justice engage the vast injustices of our time, it is refreshing to see people of faith reclaiming their traditions in order to see more clearly and act more courageously. These two authors take us through a range of traditions and models, with an eye toward the liberating work of God.
Perkins School of Theology
Faith-Rooted Organizing helpfully reimagines theological education through the lens of movements for social change. The worship services all over the world each Sunday morning are also opportunities for both church members and nonmembers alike to work together for a more just, equitable and sustainable world. Salvatierra and Heltzel persuasively, provocatively show how organizing can strengthen both Christian churches and the wider communities they are called to serve.
-Matthew Myer Boulton,
Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana
As a growing segment of the church reawakens to its calling to 'do justice' in our world, Faith-Rooted Organizing will be an indispensable manual for the justice movement. Implementing a beautiful blend of holistic theology, relevant stories and practical wisdom, Alexia and Peter's book clearly illustrates the unique role that Christians have in strategically, prophetically and collaboratively challenging unjust systems and pursuing the common good.
national director of Urban Projects, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
It's tempting to look at all the problems in the world, throw our hands up at God and say, 'Why don't you do something?' When we ask that, we often hear God say back, 'I did something. I made you.' Throughout history, the movements that have changed the world for good have been divine conspiracies, holy collaborations between God and people. For some reason, God doesn't want to change the world without us. Sometimes we are waiting on God, and God is waiting on us. When we ask God to move a mountain, God might give us a shovel. In this book, Peter and Alexia remind us that faith has to have feet--the good news needs to become flesh. The gospel is not just about ideas, it's about action--Jesus does not just offer us a presentation of ideas but an invitation to join a movement. As you read it, keep your eyes open for ways you might be called to become a part of the change we all want to see in the world.
Organizing is an old tradition, but for years there was a mindset that it is all about self-interest and manipulating power, whatever the collateral damage. Peter and Alexia bring us to a new/ancient place, social justice with sleeves rolled up, grounded in organizing for good as the deepest expression of faith. Faith-Rooted Organizing weaves Scripture with practice and the prophetic voice with practical steps, presenting organizing as a spiritual act of partnering with God in repairing the world.
-David M. Elcott,
New York University
A superb integration of biblical faith and community organizing. This book is both an excellent manual and a vast feast of delightful, empowering stories. A must-read for anyone interested in empowering people to work for justice.
-Ronald J. Sider,
founder of Evangelicals for Social Action
Through the prophet Micah, God calls us to both 'act justly and love mercy.' These are more than personal admonishments. They often require addressing the structures and corrupt systems that oppress the poor, the marginalized and the hidden. I'm grateful that Alexia Salvatierra and Peter Heltzel have given us a way forward, rooted in Scripture, to help us act justly to 'proclaim freedom for the captives and . . . release the oppressed.'
president of World Vision US
Proof-texters beware: this book won't bless your biases with conveniently misquoted Bible verses. This book insists that the Calvary-shaped power that raised Christ from the grave enables us all to see through the eyes of the last, the lost and the least. Faith-Rooted Organizing is strictly for those who long to organize in ways that witness to God's new world of love.
Australian Peace Award recipient
Alexia and Peter are friends, and together they've developed a needed resource for the church today. In my lifetime organizing has never been more important and more effective than it is right now. But it's not enough to base our organizing in faith, it needs to be rooted deep down, and that's exactly what Alexia and Peter do. They take the reader step by step through how to effectively discern, recruit and follow through when organizing. They're pioneers! This book is a must-read for all in the church today who are concerned about their schools, towns, states and nation--and want to do something about it!