Building Faith-Rooted Movements is a one day course that will examine faith rooted movement building from the lens of faith, race, and gender. The practice of power and prophetic leadership— how it is built, deployed, distributed, and exercised, will be examined throughout.

Course description: Race is a deep, inescapable part of our collective history; it has coursed through our choices, our churches, and our communities.  In order to challenge the broken systems that pain the communities we love and lead multiracial movements, this course will equip participants with prophetic leadership tools and an understanding of power. It will motivate practices for ministry that operate from an intersectionality of faith, race, gender, and power.

The purpose of the course is to provide an examination of two case studies that illustrate the practice of power and and how it propels faith rooted movement building. Specifically, the participants will:

1)    Understand how movements are built (a moment compared to long term power investment).

a.     Reading: Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World, Alexia Salvatierra & Peter Heltzel

b.     Practice: Recount a movement you had the opportunity to participate in or hear about and share with a peer.

c.     Experience: Write a reflection piece (in class) about the key elements to this movement and how you were motivated or not to engage. What about this movement was rooted in faith?

d.     Tools: Presentation of case studies

2)    Understand how to research and analyze community issues that inform movements.

a.     Reading: You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen. –Eric Liu

b.     Practice: Further case study analysis using frame work from Eric Liu’s chapters of ‘Understanding Power’ and ‘How to Practice Power.’

c.     Tools: Power Analysis grid 

3)    Understand how to build power relationships with community leaders that sustain faith rooted movements.

a.     Reading: Eric Liu’s chapter on The Why of Power.

b.     Practice: Leading with values that drive relationships and sustain movements.

c.     Tools: Differentiating values and faith driven models of organizing and advocacy. Regional organizational contacts, CCO, MORE 2, Stand UP KC, Jobs with Justice, One Struggle, etc.. 

4)    Learn through case studies and guest presentations key stories and progression of two current faith-rooted organizing movements.

a.     Reading:  case study excerpts

b.     ASSIGNMENT & PRACTICE: Develop a power path for yourself of approximately 3 pages maximum (600 words) covering at least one of the following bolded questions: 

1. When have you used your power for community change?

o   What is power and how is it exercised in movements?

o   What were tension moments related to race or gender and how did you navigate and or respond?

2.   How do you see your faith intersecting in movement spaces in the future?

o   What are your hopes and expectations for faith rooted movements in your practice of ministry?  

o   How will you most powerfully exercise prophetic leadership?

o   What will you avoid or prioritize related to race and gender?

3.    Who today or in sacred scripture is a faith rooted movement leader that you admire?

o   What characteristics does this person display?

o   How has this person exercised power?

o   How has this person operated through a lens of gender and race?

c.     Post on Moodle a 1-paragraph response to 1-2 of your colleagues’ reflection papers.

d.     Tools:  Power analysis grid



The pedagogical approach for this course will be a combination of lecture/presentation, small group discussion, role-play/practice, and two case studies.  The lectures focus on the content of the syllabus and assigned readings, primarily Eric Liu’s You’re More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen. The syllabus is organized to learn, understand and, in turn, deploy core tools of faith-rooted community organizing. The subject matter will be engaged through the lens of race and gender. Case studies will model the exercising and practice of faith and power and their direct-action integration in the campaigns to confront usury and protect water. Specifically, this course will engage two case studies and materials from two diverse faith rooted organizing movements:

·       The Moral Economy campaign to protect consumers from predatory payday loans, and

·       Water is Life movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. 


Lecture/presentations- Topics are arranged to mirror the progression of community organizing building on concepts such as faith and spiritual practice, race, class, gender lens, roles of the faith rooted community organizer, community and campaign power analysis, and prophetic leadership. Guest lecturers will be invited to complement course material.


Small Group Format- After each lecture/presentation students disseminate into small groups to allow participants the opportunity to analyze and discuss the community organizing concepts presented in the lecture and readings. The discussion is initiated with an exercise or series of questions relative to the syllabus topic.


Role-play/Practice- Students will practice actual community organizing skills by role playing in a supportive environment.  Students will serve as small group facilitators, note takers, and practice listening campaign tactics and power analysis. These experiences will bolster the confidence of participants and ensure that every participant’s contribution is captured by the group, a fundamental of community organizing.


On-Site Learning- This course will include a vehicle tour of Troost Avenue and take place at the CCO (Communities Creating Opportunity) headquarters in the urban core of Kansas City so participants can experience the diverse culture of Kansas City and the history and impact of red lining. CCO’s offices, located in the Kansas City Health Department, expose participants to community organizing as a tool for improving public health resulting in increases in life expectancy.