Charismatic Empowerment Camp: A Spiritual Transformation Approach to Social Capital Development in a Community

by Martin U. Okoli
June 4th, 2022

To augment the efforts of the government in making Rainier Beach more peaceful, many organizations have been working hard to create an integrated society among all races. Seattle City government encourages the activities of these organizations and partners with them and many more organizations that help Rainier Beach residents build a safe and thriving community through social connectedness. Individual and community social capital have been identified by social scientists as an important ingredient in community development.

In 2013, our church Seattle Christian Center located in the Rainier Beach neighborhood, introduced family summer camps to help our members improve their social capital traits within their immediate and church families and as a precursor to enabling the integration of many races in our multicultural community. This research was aimed at finding the social impacts of the summer camp called the Charismatic Empowerment Camp of Seattle Christian Center organized between 2013 and 2018. Participants who attended the camp for three or more nonconsecutive years participated in a Zoom interview, while those who attended at least once participated in an online survey.

Using the grounded theory approach, participants’ interview responses were coded with MAXQDA 2020, and it was discovered that camp attendees were socially connected through the activities of the camp. Family and individual participants portrayed the social relationship resulting from the camp as connectedness, bonding, friendship, and networking. For data triangulation, an online survey was also conducted among participants that attended the camp at least once during the same period. The survey data confirmed that participants were empowered during the camp and experienced the same social capital traits found in the interview data. Researchers view these social capital traits as bedrock in building a thriving community, and it is hoped that implementing the outcome of the transformation procedure would be our church’s contribution towards our city’s search for a peaceful and socially connected neighborhood in Rainier Beach.