Displacement and the Church in Colombia
June 2016 - July 2019
Dr. Christopher Hayes
Dr. Milton Acosta
(Fundacíon Universitaria Seminario Bíblico de Colombia)
Psychology Team Leader:
Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores
How might a renewed theology of integral missiology, enriched by empirical social-scientific analysis, foster human flourishing? By engaging social sciences, missiology, and theories of integral mission, this project addresses 21st century threats to flourishing. As a test case, we focus on the humanitarian crisis of internal displacement in Colombia. Since 1998, violence has displaced more than 6 million people in Colombia, causing a crisis of suffering and poverty. With this backdrop, a renewed integral missiology will help the Protestant Church in become a vital agent of integral human flourishing. By combining theology with social sciences, we aim to give internally displaced persons (IDPs) a sense of spiritual purpose, increased self-sufficiency, freedom from poverty, and human flourishing.
Our hypothesis proposes that the human flourishing of IDPs in Colombia can thrive through empirical analysis (Participatory Action Research), a "humble approach" to integral missiology, and the fields of education, economics, sociology, and psychology. We will conduct activities in 3 phases: Research, Curriculum Development, and Dissemination. During the Research phase, teams of scholars and practitioners will study the consequences of displacement and develop proposals on how local churches can help IDPs capacities flourish. The Curriculum Development phase will elaborate curricula, resources, and models to equip churches and IDPs. The Dissemination phase will implement the materials and models in pilot communities.
The project is expected to generate a range of outputs, such as reports, websites, and articles in peer-reviewed journals. Using different materials, we aim to engage both academic audiences (theologians and social scientists) and non-academic audiences (local Christian leaders, Christian laypersons, and IDPs). The project will have impact in 3 major ways:
Advancing knowledge about integral missiology, the challenges caused by forced migration, and methods to recover and flourish after displacement.
Contributing to the mobilization of local religious communities to help IDPs flourish.
Contributing to the integral human flourishing of Colombian IDPs by removing informational barriers, fostering IDP critical consciousness, and mobilizing local religious communities.
With the funding support of the Travis Research Institute at Fuller Seminary, Dr. Lisseth Rojas-Flores received a supplemental grant to bring doctoral students to Colombia to conduct research for this project.