The Eight Key Principals of Christian Community Development
Go to the people
Live among them
Learn from them
Start with what they know
Build on what they have:
But of the best leaders
When their task is done
The people will remark
“We have done it ourselves.”
Wholistic – Based on a biblical theology of “wholeness,” it is important that Christians doing community development understand that Jesus ministered to the whole person and that because we are created as whole beings all aspects of our life are interdependent. If the soul suffers it shows up in the body and if the body suffers it affects the spirit. With this in mind Urban Resurrection seeks to minister directly to all aspects of people’s lives in order to show and tell about Christ’s love and truth to those in need of His healing.
Relocation “Jesus relocated. He didn’t commute to earth one day a week and shoot back up to heaven. He left His throne and became one of us so that we might see the life of God revealed in Him” — John Perkins 1982, 88
“Jesus isn’t here right now, we need to be Jesus in the neighborhood!” — John Perkins at 2002 CCDA Conference
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.” (John 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.
Listening to the community – 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.
It is essential for community leaders to help the community focus on maximizing their strengths and abilities to make a difference for their community. The philosophy of Christian Community Development believes that the people with the problem have the best solutions and opportunities to solve those problems.
Urban Resurrection affirms the dignity of individuals and encourages the engagement of the community to use their own resources and assets to bring about sustainable change.
Reconciliation – The Church ought to be the greatest advocate for racial, cultural, and economic diversity in all of society. We must seek to bring reconciliation first between man and God and then between each other. If Christian Community Development ministries are to be ’Champions of Reconciliation” in this new Millennium, we must take an honest look at the attitudes, the misconceptions, and the systems and structures that keep us from experiencing Biblical reconciliation. Beyond traditional Black and White dialogues on race, we seek to engage unheard voices in this journey toward a redeemed community.
Redistribution – “Redistribution is not a prescription for community. Redistribution is a description of what happens when people fall in love with each other across class lines.” – Shane Claiborne, in The Irresistible Revolution
Redistribution brings new skills, new relationships, and new resources and puts them to work to empower the residents of a given community of need to bring about healthy transformation. This is redistribution. Urban Resurrection seeks to harness the commitment and energy of men, women, and young people living in the community, and others who care about their community, and find creative avenues to develop jobs, schools, health centers, home ownership opportunities, and other enterprises of long-term development.
Church based – It is the responsibility of the local church to evangelize, disciple and nurture people in their Christian life. It is also the responsibility of the church to love our under resourced neighbors and neighborhoods. Churches that are rooted in the community should be seen as lovers of their community and neighborhoods.
Urban Resurrection desires to see the church taking action towards the development of its community. It is out of the life and presence of the church body in the neighborhood that ideas and ministry programs should emerge.
Empowerment – ”Give a person a fish and they will eat for a day, teach them how to fish and they will eat for a lifetime; if they have the skills to access or own the pond. A commitment to empowerment moves us to create an atmosphere where men, women, and young people in the West Coconut Grove community can grow to become contributing members of society. Instead of giving people hand outs and focusing on trying to make people’s lives ‘better’, empowerment focuses on creating opportunities for the under resourced to break out of poverty and dependence, so that they can provide for their own needs and the needs of their families.
Home grown leadership – The sustainability of an effective CCD ministry is fueled by the presence of indigenous leaders in every area of ministry and leadership. We seek from the very beginning to find local residents who can be developed into the leaders that God wants them to become in all areas of their lives. This process is essential to the longevity of CCD ministry and is key focus of Urban Resurrection.