Saturday, November 1, 2008

CCDA principle #2...


People To God

Reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel. Jesus said that the essence of Christianity could be summed up in two inseparable commandments: Love God, and love thy neighbor. (Mt 22:37-39) First, Christian Community Development is concerned with reconciling people to God and bringing them into a church fellowship where they can be discipled in their faith.

Evangelism is very much a part of Christian Community Development. It is recognized that the answer is not just a job or a decent place to live but having a true relationship with Jesus Christ. It is essential that the good news of Jesus Christ is proclaimed and that individuals place their faith in Christ for salvation. Christian discipleship is very much a part of this philosophy also.

The gospel, rightly understood, is wholistic. It responds to people as whole people; it does not single out just spiritual or just physical needs and speak to those. Christian Community Development begins with people transformed by the love of God, who then respond to God's call to share the gospel with others through evangelism, social action, economic development, and justice.


People To People

The most segregated time of the week in our nation is Sunday morning during church services. American churches rarely are integrated and weaken the gospel because of this practice. Christians pray in the model prayer that the Lord taught: "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Mt 6:9 Churches should reflect heaven on earth, and heaven will be the most integrated place in the world. People of every nation and every tongue will worship Christ together. This is the picture of the church Christ presents to his people.

The question is: Can a gospel that reconciles people to God without reconciling people to people be the true gospel of Jesus Christ? A person's love for Christ should break down every racial, ethnic and economic barrier. As Christians come together to solve the problems of their community, the great challenge is to partner and witness together across these barriers in order to demonstrate our oneness in Christ. Christian Community Development recognizes that the task of loving the poor is shared by the entire body of Christ, black, white, brown, and yellow; rich and poor; urban and suburban; educated and uneducated. While the Bible transcends culture and race, the church is still having a hard time with living out the reality of our unity in Christ. Christian Community Development is intentional about reconciliation and works hard to bring people of all races and cultures into the one worshipping body of Christ.

This comes not so much through a program but through a commitment to living together in the same neighborhood. This is why relocation is so important and how each of the other principals builds upon it.

This is where what Dr. John Perkins calls the felt-need concept can be so helpful for individuals seeking to establish authentic cross-cultural relationships in under resourced neighborhoods. In order to build trust with people who may be suspicious about our motives for being in the ‘hood’ because of negative past experiences, stereotypes, or ignorance, we must begin by getting to know people right where they are at. As we listen to their stories and get to know their hopes and concerns for the present and future, we also begin to identify one another’s deepest felt-needs; those hurts and longings that allows us opportunities to connect with people on a deeper level, which is always necessary for true reconciliation to take place.

The power of authentic reconciliation between us and God, and between people of every culture and race is an essential component of effective ministry in our hurting world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

core value #1 of christian community development...

so here's the first one....

Relocation: Living Among the People

Living out the gospel means desiring for one's neighbor and neighbor's family that which one desires for one's self and family. Living out the gospel means bettering the quality of other people's lives spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally as one betters one's own. Living out the gospel means sharing in the suffering and pain of others.

How did Jesus love? "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (Jn 1:14) Jesus relocated. He became one of us. He didn't commute back and forth to heaven. Similarly, the most effective messenger of the gospel to the poor will also live among the poor that God has called the person to. A key phrase to understand relocation is incarnational ministry.

By relocating, a person will understand most clearly the real problems facing the poor; and then he or she may begin to look for real solutions. For example, if a person ministering in a poor community has children, one can be sure that person will do whatever possible to ensure that the children of the community get a good education. Relocation transforms "you, them, and theirs" to "we, us, and ours." Effective ministries plant and build communities of believers that have a personal stake in the development of their neighborhoods.

Relocation is community based in the very essence of the word. There are three kinds of people who live in the community. First "relocators" are people who, like the project director, were not born in the inner city but moved into the neighborhood. Second, are the "returners." These are the people born and raised in their community and then left for a better life. Usually they return from college or the military. They are no longer trapped by the surrounding poverty of their neighborhood. Yet, they choose to return and live in the community they once tried to escape. Lastly are the "remainers." These are the ones that could have fled the problems of the inner city but chose to stay and be part of the solution to the problems surrounding them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

to CCDA...

just finished serving at the CCDA national conference. it was a learning event. if you're looking to join a community of folks that are working to make a change in their communities on behalf of those that either can't or don't know how, these are some good folks doing some good stuff. i was glad just to be a part of it. 

what i appreciated about the conference was that there were no 'rock stars.' all the headline speakers were walking around with everyone. it was pretty cool in that i got to say hi with folks anywhere at anytime. everyone was pretty accessible. they ate with everyone, spoke to everyone, and even shared the bathroom with everyone. pretty unique from a conference standpoint. 

some folks that i got to share with were (i suggest you google them to see what they are up to)...
john perkins (civil rights leader)
wayne gordon (aka coach)
noel castellanos (immigration reformist)
larry acosta (urban youth workers institute) 

good stuff.