Paul Turner

What excites you about the work of the Disciples of Christ Community in the Congo?

The Disciples of Christ Community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is actively engaged in equipping pastors and teachers, edifying believers and responding to the challenges facing the Congolese people through a broad array of ministries. The inspiring work of the Disciples of Christ Community incorporates a number of focus areas such as healthcare, micro-finance, agricultural development, clean water, education, and leadership development.

How do you fit into the work of the partner?

Through my years of working with community based organizations, as well as other internationally focused non-profits, I’ve gained experience in community and economic development, and I hope to use these gifts with the Disciples of Christ Community’s development programs. I’m not there to to start projects or oversee existing ministries, but to assist where I can to help the church achieve their goals and priorities that they have set. The Disciples of Christ Community is seeking to expand their capacity to produce sustainable efforts to achieve its goals concerning health and economic vitality. My hope is to be a resourceful presence in the community, as they seek to address their concerns. 

Why do you feel called to this ministry?

I received my calling to work for justice, and advocate for the poor and oppressed, in my senior year of college. My graduate work was in a unique program combining Christian mission with community and economic development at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Eastern College. It was during this time that I interned with Global Ministries in Southern Africa and conducted research for my Masters thesis on the impact South Africa’s Apartheid policies had on the land-locked country of Lesotho. While in Lesotho I lived with refugees from Zaire (now DRC) fleeing the brutality of Mobutu Sese Seko. The seeds of interest in the Congo were planted during that time.

Is there a Bible passage that has special meaning in your daily work?

The Book of Nehemiah has special significance for me during my career to uplift and develop marginalized communities. Nehemiah embodies the spiritual and practical elements of transformational ministry. Nehemiah's approach to restoration and renewal is holistic (spiritual, mental, physical), and he leads by example. The Book of Nehemiah demonstrates the importance of prayer, singular purpose, favor with people, restoring identity, revitalizing culture, confronting opposition, and so much more. Nehemiah provides many lessons on leadership worthy of emulation.

What are some of the issues facing the people of the DRC?

The story of what has happened in DRC these past twenty years has not been fully told or understood by people in the United States. The fact that a war involving several bordering nations has been raging in DRC over minerals and raw materials to feed insatiable appetites for energy, cellular phones and economic growth elsewhere, should quicken our resolve for peace and justice. The Disciples of Christ Community in DRC wants the story told to effect a change in government and corporate policies. Currently, the vast majority of the Congolese people experience no opportunities or benefits from the global economy their country is fueling.



Paul Turner