Subversive Community

Throughout our time in South Africa we’ve attempted to take a posture of learning. Our community here is full of diverse cultures, a range of spiritual views, a number of languages, and varied life experiences. We are constantly learning about life here, and how to invest in a way that is empowering.

We try to avoid being seen as people that have the solutions to every problem, because we certainly don’t! The ‘quick fix’ option can be tempting and it could be easy to fall into a beneficiary/benefactor relationship. At times this has been a fine line to negotiate but we have to remind ourselves that creating dependency is not sustainable transformation.

Craig Greenfield discusses what true community looks like in his book ‘Subversive Jesus’.

“As Jesus showed us in his life and ministry, healing and transformation flow out of relationship – not the delivery of services.”

This year our InnerCHANGE team has chosen to intentionally focus on empowering our neighbours. There are a number of young people that have connected with us and show leadership potential. They have come with a passion to serve their community and pursue local transformation. They are involved in tutoring, leading football and basketball teams, and helping us with our youth and kids work. As a team we realised that we have a responsibility to help our volunteers to develop personally, spiritually and to equip them to empower their communities. With this in mind we have created a Local Apprenticeship to intentionally walk through with these willing individuals. We hope that our local leaders will be a part of positive transformation in their community in the long term.

“True love flows out of mutuality, where we blur the lines between those who are serving and those who are receiving, and where we humbly acknowledge that we all have something to offer and something to receive from one another.”

As we journey together I’m excited to grow alongside our apprentices, learning about life in Soshanguve and my own place in this season. I am energised by each neighbour who has taken seriously the call of Jesus to ‘follow him’ and wants to give back and use his or her skills to serve.

“When we allow those we have labelled victims or the poor to serve and participate in our acts of transforming love, we usher in the kingdom of God.”

May we all walk with humility remembering our own brokenness. May we all see ways of empowering those who are struggling rather than resorting to quick fixes. And may we live with a posture of learning together what it means to be human.


This is a continuation of the series reflecting on Craig Greenfield’s new book ‘Subversive Jesus’, which is now available to buy.


2 responses to “Subversive Community

  1. Paul I’ve found your reflections on this book very thought provoking, especially as you apply it to your situation in Soshanguve. Thank you!

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