The Community Empowerment Framework: A Benchmark for Christian Social Work

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Stephen W. Stoeffler
Rigaud Joseph
Ezra Creedon


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.

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