By Noel Castellanos
Over the last 30 years, CCDA has been a catalyst for envisioning and encouraging leaders like myself to follow God’s calling to work among the poor throughout our nation. The organization has taught me about the three R’s and 8 Key Components of CCDA. I was exposed to other leaders that had the same commitment, the same struggles and challenges.
Reaching into the Margins
In the first few years of starting a CCD ministry, resilience was the key to pushing forward. At the very first conference Coach delivered a message entitled It’s Not Easy, but it Can Happen. Coach dove into the realities of living and ministering in neighborhoods that were vulnerable and often ignored by the church.
Many of us in that crowd resonated with the sentiment. Thirty years later, the biblical teaching and learning is still essential, but perhaps the most important value of our association is that we connect with others that give us the strength and encouragement to keep doing the work.
Last year at our 29th conference in Detroit, we lifted up the theme of Resilience; the Lord knows that resilience is exactly what we needed with all the craziness going on in our nation. Today, anticipating our 30th conference in Chicago this November 1-3, we are poised to reflect on the source of that resilience.
What keeps us rooted?
This resilience was possible because our work has been rooted in the biblical philosophy of Christian Community Development since day one. Not only have we been rooted in God’s word, but we have also been rooted in our relationships with one another, despite members hailing from across the nation.
We don’t just attend a conference once a year, but we stay connected through our prayers, through our common passion to transform communities and through our commitment to reach people through local churches. We are also aware that in order to establish healthy neighborhoods, we must confront the many injustices that impact our neighbors.
In Chicago, we will have the opportunity to hear from some of the pioneers of our movement who helped to establish CCDA. These leaders have inspired us to stay rooted in our commitment. We will also hear from established leaders who have carried on the work and have expanded our humble beginnings by making an impact throughout our nation.
Finally, we will celebrate the fact that hundreds of young leaders who have been impacted by CCDA are not only rooted in the vision and mission that we have promoted all these years, but that they are ready to lead our movement into the future. Clearly, it will take a new generation of women and men filled with the spirit of God to keep CCDA viable and relevant in the years to come.
I am certain that our 30th conference in Chicago will be an amazing time to celebrate what God has done and what He is going to do as we continue follow His leading – to love those ignored by society. After attending 29 conferences and being blown away by how God has encouraged me each and every year, there is no doubt he has something special in store for each and every one of you this year.
We hope to see you in Chicago November 1-3, 2018 for a time of celebration, reflection and refreshment as we dive deeper into another year of pursuing righteousness and justice for His Kingdom. And remember, be #Rooted&Ready. See you in November, Familia!