CIFA and SHALOM GROUPS – Part 2
CIFA and SHALOM groups ensure that from the onset, each member takes personal responsibility towards individual holistic growth and the success of the group. The values being inculcated by CIFAs and Shalom groups include faith, leadership, accountability, productivity, and community. Therefore, A CIFA is deemed to be successful when pastor leaders understand and take up the holistic transformation agenda in their churches, creating an opportunity for their church members to grow towards holistic transformation through their shalom groups. The outcomes of successful CIFA/Shalom Groups are increased awareness of communities and the resources therein leading to the starting of new businesses, continuous increase in number people participating in the holistic programs, increase in community savings and asset ownership, discipleship of church members leading to growth of churches and planting of new churches and the ultimate outcome of increased hope and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the members personal self-esteem and dignity.
The CIFA/Shalom groups have meetings on a weekly and monthly basis in line with PA program areas of focus. The Leadership Development program ensures that pastors are equipped to understand, embrace and undertake holistic ministry for their families, churches, and in their communities. When pastors meet together they have fellowship, bible study and community prayers. This has enabled them to break denominational boundaries and enhance Christian unity among them. In some of the fellowships, they do rotational visitation among members. As a result, the communities are encountering spiritual impact as the pastor leaders provide direction to the entire community; leading to the growth in the number of lives spiritually impacted through the groups. The leaders have gone further to plant new churches as the unity and synergy drives a new agenda to reach their communities. This year, through the CIFA and Shalom groups, 9 new churches have been planted in Kenya and Rwanda.
During their meetings, CIFA/Shalom groups allocate one meeting session to focus on Economic Empowerment. They are able to discuss matters on financial empowerment. It is here that they do their savings and request for loans. This enables them to grow existing businesses, learn how to better manage their businesses, increase community savings and asset ownership. The members challenge one another towards success. They encourage each other to work hard and build better homes and businesses and generally towards better home and community management. The CIFA groups also undertake children mentorship programs where they train children and youth towards holistic development.
The CIFA and Shalom Groups also advocate for the community. They are a voice for the voiceless and a helper to community members that are vulnerable and therefore not able to help themselves. They, therefore, identify vulnerable members in their communities and through their savings empower them towards starting successful businesses, or towards educating their children, payment of hospital bills among other important needs.
Below is a case study of activities being undertaken in the CIFA group of Kisii County in Kenya.
- There are 22 pastors in the Kisii CIFA group. These pastors have so far formed 16 Shalom groups to reach their church members.
- There are 88 micro-businesses which have been started in this CIFA group
- As of now, they have 325,850 Kenya Shillings (USD 3,285) in their revolving fund, available for members to borrow to repay. The money is the savings of the members which members can access to borrow to start or improve their businesses.
- The pastors in the CIFA group have partnered to plant 4 new churches
- One of the pastors in the CIFA, Pastor Dominic, trains girls on how to pursue tailoring as a source of income. He has opened three (3) tailoring shops, which also employ the girls he has trained.
- Kisii CIFA has started an outreach to two neighboring Counties to initiate the holistic ministry. Their goal is to see what they are doing spread to all those around them. So far they have recruited 20 pastors in a neighboring County of Nyamira which has, in turn, formed 6 shalom groups.
The Kisii CIFA group is involved in cultivating accountable, servant leadership among the pastors in the community. They have an active economic and spiritual empowerment program including a prayer movement where members start texting each other at 3 am every day to make sure they are awake to pray. They end their prayers at 6 am after which everyone is encouraged to go to work so as to live an economically productive life. The community has active children and youth programs.
The case of Kisii CIFA is one among many other groups across the 5 countries where PA has a footprint. This shows the impact that is being made in communities through CIFA and SHALOM groups. Through this strategy Possibilities Africa is ensuring that there is a movement to target large numbers of people to be engaged in creating the village, community, County, and Africa they wish to have. An Africa that is powered by Judeo-Christian values! It is our vision to see Africa transformed holistically within a generation.
With God all things are possible