"Jesus, the Community Organizer"
This past week, Emmy Ruiz spoke to our students about “Community Organizing: Engaging Today to Shape Tomorrow.” When she was talking about community organizing, I could not help but think that Jesus was a community organizer and he calls us to do the same. Community organizing can be seen as uniting people around a particular issue or cause. In a very real sense, Jesus did just that. In his three-year ‘campaign trail,’ he used this simple platform: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15).
One of the most powerful and effective tools for community organizing is the personal narrative. When one hears a particularly moving or convicting story, they are driven to action. They want to be a part of this person’s narrative and movement that could change the landscape and people’s very lives.
Jesus had a very unique narrative as the only Son of God. This clearly set him apart from the others. He came to serve, not to be served; he came to give sight to the blind; he came to eat with sinners and tax collectors; he came to set captives free; he came so that we might live an abundant life!
After delivering his message, Jesus assembled teams to spread the word (sending them out two by two). This originally started with a few people, then grew to 12 people, then multiplied exponentially into a full-fledged movement sweeping the land.
Jesus was also clear as to what he required of them. Like a good community organizer, once people stepped on the scene to help and be a part of the movement, they were given a specific task, which would help the ‘campaign’ reach its ultimate goal. In the case of Jesus, the ultimate goal was to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything he had commanded them (Matt. 28:19-20).
Jesus was indeed the best community organizer of all time! Now we are called to keep the movement alive. So, let us tell the inspirational narrative of Jesus Christ, tell our own story that fits into and continues his legacy, and invite others to join this amazing journey to change the face of this community and the world!