The concept has been around since the 1930s, but evidently many people have missed the definition. I have been asked by several to provide a definition and I see this question bandied about, although maybe not all of those asking it in the media are genuine about the question.
A community organizer is someone who builds community, brings people together, encourages them to understand and help their neighbors, and makes things happen. It is a profession. It has an established, proven discipline. It is based in a particular set of skills and a defined process, but involves several different major approaches. Community organizers work to empower communities that are marginalized by poverty or social injustice. They believe that poor and oppressed communities can solve their own problems and improve their quality of life if they are empowered to do so. Christian community organizers believe that true followers of Christ will give their lives to caring for others if they are encouraged and empowered to do so.
That is the simple definition. This the kind of professional that is necessary for any community to thrive and be truly just. Every community has powerful and relatively wealthy people who can make things happen. The powerful get elected to city council and the state legislature. The relatively wealthy belong to the Chamber of Commerce. But what empowers the other 99 percent of Americans who do not sit on the city council and do not belong to Chamber of Commerce? That is why community organizers are needed to help the rest of us get the things done that we value.
Up through the mid-1970s, the field of community organizing was dominated by individuals who were largely secular in orientation. From that time on, people of faith have become the largest number of active professionals. There was internal controversy on the topic from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, but today the most widely accepted strategy for community organizing is based in congregations. Among believers it is most easily possible to find those unselfish enough to really serve the common good and the needs of the powerless.
If you want more information, I will gladly share my four-page complete bibliography on the topic. If you don't want to post your Email address in the comments section, you can find my Email address in my profile.