Main Article Content
contemporary social problems, community empowerment, Christian social work, community practice, community empowerment framework
Despite being a key concept in social work practice, community empowerment has been largely overlooked in the Christian social work literature. One potential explanation for the paucity of publication is arguably a lack of theoretical guidance from scholars who embrace both Christianity and social work. This paper sought to expand the literature by proposing, among other things, the Community Empowerment Framework (CEF) to guide practice within the Christian social work realm. The CEF contains the following nine principles: unit, purpose, power dynamics, needs assessment, inductive reasoning, solidarity, legacy, accountability, democracy, and identity. From these principles arise nine corresponding assumptions. This paper holds major implications for theory, research, and community practice.
American Bible Society (2008). Poverty and the poor in the Bible. New York, NY: Author.
Author #1 2018
Author #2 2018
Barnes, S. L. (2011). Black megachurches: Social gospel usage and community empowerment. Journal of African American Studies, 15(2), 177-198.
Boehm, A., & Cnaan, R. (2012). Towards a practice-based model for community practice: Linking theory and practice. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 39(1), 141-168.
Boyd-Franklin, N., Smith Morris, T., & Bry, B. H. (1997). Parent and family support groups with African American families: the process of family and community empowerment. Cultural Diversity and Mental Health, 3(2), 83.
Carter, I. (2011). Human behavior in the social environment: A social systems approach (6th ed.). Piscataway, NJ: Aldine Transaction.
Cornell Empowerment Group (1989). Empowerment and family support. Networking Bulletin, 1(2), 1-23.
DeVore, D. E. (2007). Water in sacred places: rebuilding New Orleans black churches as sites of community empowerment. The Journal of American History, 94(3), 762-769.
Dominelli, L. (2016). Differences in positional status impact upon social exclusion. International Social Work, 59(2), 173-176.
Evans, E. N. (1992). Liberation theology, empowerment theory and social work practice with the oppressed. International Social Work, 35(2), 135-147.
Fawcett, S.B., Paine-Andrews, A., Francisco, V.T., Schultz, J.A., Richter, K.P., Lewis, R.K., Williams, E.L., Harris, K.J., Berkley, J.Y., Fisher, J.L., & Lopez, C.M. (1995). Using empowerment theory in collaborative partnerships for community health and development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 677-698.
Frazier, E. F. (1963). The Negro Church in America, New York, NY: Schocken Books.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Seabury Press.
Gamble, D., & Weil, M. (2010). Conceptual frameworks and models for community practice. In D. Gamble & M. Weil, Community practice skills: Local to global perspectives (pp. 24-46). Columbia University Press.
Gutierrez, G. (1973). A theology of liberation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.
Gutierrez, L. M. (1995). Understanding the empowerment process: Does consciousness make a difference? Social Work Research, 19(4), 229-237.
Gutierrez, L.M. (2001). Working with women of color: An empowerment perspective. In Rothman, J., Erlich, J.L., Tropman, J.E. (eds.). Strategies of community intervention (6th ed.). p.209-217. Itasca, IL: F.E. Peacock Publishers, Inc.
Gutierrez, L., & Lewis, E. (1999). Empowering women of color. New York: Columbia University Press.
Hardcastle, D., Powers, P., & Wenocur, S. (2011). Community practice: Theories and skills for social workers (3rd ed.). NY: Oxford University Press.
Himmelman, A.T. (2001). On coalitions and the transformation of power relations: Collaborative betterment and collaborative empowerment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 29(2), 277-284.
Itzhaky, H., & York, A.H. (2000). Sociopolitical control and empowerment: An extended replication. Journal of Community Psychology, 28(4), 407-415.
Laverack, G. (2001). An identification and interpretation of the organizational aspects of community empowerment. Community Development Journal, 36(2), 134-145.
Laverack, G., & Labonte, R. (2000). A planning framework for community empowerment goals within health promotion. Health Policy and Planning, 15(3), 255-262.
Laverack, G., & Wallerstein, N. (2001). Measuring community empowerment: A fresh look at organizational domains. Health Promotion International, 16(2), 179-185.
Lee, J.B. (2001). The empowerment approach to social work practice: Building the beloved community (2nd ed.). New York: Columbia University Press.
McMillan, B., Florin, P., Stevenson, J., Kerman, B., & Mitchell, R.E. (1995). Empowerment praxis in community coalitions. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 699 727.
Mondros, J.B., & Wilson, S.M. (1994). Organizing for power and empowerment. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Moore, T. (1991). The African-American church: A source of empowerment, mutual help, and social change. Prevention in Human Services, 10(1), 147-167.
Morris, J. R., & Robinson, D. T. (1996). Community and Christianity in the Black church. Counseling and Values, 41(1), 59-69.
Mott, S. C. (1982). Biblical ethics and social change. NY: Oxford University Press.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW). (2017). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (Approved by the 1996 NASW Delegate Assembly and revised by the 2017 NASW Delegate Assembly). Washington, DC: Author.
Parsons, T. (1960). Structure and process in modern society. New York: Free Press of Glencoe.
Perkins, D.D., & Zimmerman, M.A. (1995). Empowerment theory, research, and application. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 569-579.
Rappaport, J. (1987). Terms of empowerment/exemplars of prevention: Toward a theory for community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15(2), 121-148.
Roe, E.P. & Bushnell, J. (2018). Refugee empowerment and faith communities: A qualitative study. Social Work & Christianity, 45(2), 35-54.
Rothman, J. (1968). Three models of community organization practice. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rowlands, J. (1997). Questioning empowerment: Working with women in Honduras. London: Oxfam.
Russell, S.T., Muraco, A., Subramaniam, A., & Laub, C. (2009). Youth empowerment and high school gay-straight alliances. J Youth Adolesc., 38(7), 891-903.
Sider, R.J. (1999). Just generosity: A new vision for overcoming poverty in America. Baker Books.
Simon, B.L. (1994). The empowerment tradition in American social work. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Solomon, B.H. (1976). Black empowerment: Social work in oppressed communities. New York: Columbia University Press.
Tew, J. (2006). Understanding power and powerlessness: Towards a framework for emancipatory practice in social work. Journal of Social Work, 6(1), 33-51.
Tilly, C., & Castenada, E. (2007). Contentious politics class slides and notes. Columbia University.
Vanderwoerd, J.R. (2011). Reconsidering secularization and recovering Christianity in social work history. Social Work & Christianity, 38(3), 244-266.
Verhey, A. (1984). The great reversal: Ethics and the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Pub¬lishing Co.
Warkentin, B., & Sawatsky, A. (2018). Points of discourse: Reconciling Christianity and social work through critical theory. Social Work & Christianity, 45(2), 57-67.
Weber, M. (1968). Economy and society (vol. 1). New York: Bedminster Press.
Weil, M.O., & Gamble, D.N. (1995). Community practice models. In R.L. Edwards & J.G. Hopps (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Social Work (19th ed., p.577-593). Washington, DC: NASW.
Whitmore, E. (1988). Empowerment and the process of inquiry. A paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work, Windsor, Ontario.
Wilson, P. A. (1996). Empowerment: Community economic development from the inside out. Urban Studies, 33(4-5), 617-630.
Wolterstorff, N. (2006). Justice, not charity: Social work through the eyes of faith. Social Work & Christianity, 33(2), 123-140.
Zimmerman, M.A., Israel, B.A., Schulz, A., & Checkoway, B. (1992). Further explorations in empowerment theory: An empirical analysis of psychological empowerment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 20, 707-727.