CCDA Philosophy

8 Key Components

Source:  Christian Community Development Association (www.ccda.org)

Over the last forty years, practitioners of Christian Community Development have distilled the philosophy into 8 Key Components. The first three are based on John Perkins’ original “three R’s” of community development: relocation, reconciliation and redistribution. Other components were later added by Christians discovering ways to rebuild poor neighborhoods.

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.

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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.

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Just Distribution of Resources

When men and women in the body of Christ are visibly present and living among the poor (relocation), and when people are intentionally loving their neighbor and their neighbor’s family the way a person loves him or herself and family (reconciliation), the result is redistribution, or a just distribution of resources.

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The primary goal of leadership development is to restore the stabilizing glue and fill the vacuum of moral, spiritual, and economic leadership that is so prevalent in poor communities by developing leaders. This is most effectively done by raising up Christian leaders from the community of need who will remain in the community to live and lead.

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Often communities are developed by people outside of the community that bring in resources without taking into account the community itself. Christian Community Development is committed to listening to the community residents, and hearing their dreams, ideas and thoughts. This is often referred to as the “felt need” concept. Listening is most important, as the people of the community are the vested treasures of the future.

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The community of God’s people is uniquely capable of affirming the dignity of the poor and enabling them to meet their own needs. It is practically impossible to do effective wholistic ministry apart from the local church. A nurturing community of faith can best provide the thrusts of evangelism, discipleship, spiritual accountability, and relationships by which disciples grow in their walk with God.

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Oftentimes, many in ministry get passionate and involved in one area of need and think if they solve this particular problem that all else will be resolved. Christians, of course, often focus this area on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Of course, the most essential element to Christian Community Development is evangelism and discipleship. Yet solving problems with lasting solutions is more than evangelism and discipleship.

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Empowering people as community developers meet their needs is an important element to Christian Community Development. How does a pastor ensure that people are able to help themselves after they have been helped? Oftentimes, Christian ministry, particularly in poor communities, creates dependency. This is no better than the federal government welfare program. The Bible teaches empowerment, not dependency.

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