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Philosophy

Go to the people

Live among them
Learn from them
Love 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.”
[Ancient Chinese Proverb]

Many of our communities have been neglected and left to deteriorate for decades. Sadly, the church of Jesus Christ has at best sat back and watched this happen. In many areas, it has even contributed to the problem. A new generation of Christians are faced with a question about how they will respond to the troubles of the poor and under-resourced communities today. The desperate conditions that face the poor call for a revolution in the church’s approach to the problem.Through years of experience among the poor, many have come to see that these desperate problems cannot be solved without strong commitment and risky actions on the part of ordinary Christians with heroic faith.

There have been many attempts by “outsiders” to alleviate the problems, but most have fallen short of lasting change. Rather, the most creative long-term solutions to the problems of the poor are coming from grassroots and church-based efforts. The solutions are coming from people who see themselves as the replacements, the agents, for Jesus here on earth, in their own neighborhoods and communities.

This philosophy is known as Christian Community Development, which is not a concept that was developed in a classroom, nor formulated by people foreign to the poor community. These are Biblical, practical principles evolved from years of living and working among the poor. CCDA pioneer, John Perkins, first developed this philosophy while working among the poor in Mississippi.

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.

Redistribution

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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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 […]

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Reconciliation

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 […]

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Leadership Development

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 […]

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Empowerment

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 […]

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Wholistic Approach

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. […]

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Church-Based

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 […]

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Listening to the Community

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 […]

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