Learn Christian Community Development from experienced practitioners around the country through this premium online course! In collaboration with the American Bible Society, CCDA is proud to bring its inaugural online course to help strengthen your ministry and grow your love for God’s Word.
Created with local leaders in mind, the lessons will take you and your small group or team through a process of reimagining and applying key components of the Christian Community Development (CCD) philosophy.
Upon completion, you will be well equipped with the necessary resources, insights, and practical skills for engaging with other local leaders and residents in the renewal, restoration, and abundant community life of your neighborhood.
After finishing this intensive, easy-to-follow online course, you will be able to:
- Describe key components of CCD and why they are important
- Understand biblical foundations for CCD philosophy
- Apply insights from past and present CCD practitioners
- Identify practical next steps to engage with others in CCD in your community
Each course includes four different lessons:
Lesson 1 – Overview (including definition of key component)
Lesson 2 – Biblical Foundations (related to key component)
Lesson 3 – Fresh Perspectives (a practitioner’s story from a new perspective)
Lesson 4 – Next Steps Challenge (so what do we do?)
At the start of each course you can also subscribe to the week’s Digital Journeys created in partnership with the American Bible Society (ABS). Digital Journeys are daily devotionals corresponding to the CCD principle and their related biblical passages. Participants receive a link via text or email each day to the devotional that includes a brief prayer, reading, reflection and response.
At the end of each lesson you see one or more buttons. Click “View the Lesson Questions” to respond to the reflection questions. In order to save your work and return later to finish, click the “Save” button. If you are finished with the reflection questions and ready to move on, simply click “Submit.” When you’ve completed all four lessons and the reflection questions you can click “Complete Course.” If you’d like to move on to the next course please view the course catalog.
There are several ways in which to use this curriculum based on your preference and context. The preferred option is to go through this with a small group; however, the flexibility of online learning allows these 3 options:
On your own
This is the most straightforward option. You can take the courses in Immerse at your own pace, on your own. Do the lessons when it works for you. Answer the reflection questions and apply them to your ministry in a way that makes sense for you in your context.
With a group as leader
You can take one Immerse course, meet with your group and teach them what you are learning. Work through the reflection questions on your own and then wrestle with them in the context of your group. You can refer back to anything you’ve completed in the curriculum at any point to read specific texts or show the video on a TV or Projector. Check out our downloadable facilitator’s guide for your group discussions.
With a group as peers
By far our favorite option is to work through Immerse as a small group! Each person completes an Immerse course (including readings, videos and reflection questions) and then you all get together to talk about it. Everyone works at an agreed upon pace (we recommend one course per week) so that you can have great discussions about the reflection questions and how to apply what you are all learning together. We’ve created a downloadable facilitator’s guide as an optional resource for your group discussions.
As this is a digital curriculum, most folks will find it easiest to use a smartphone, tablet or computer when they gather to discuss reflection question answers. For those who prefer to leave their devices off and use paper in their small group context, a couple options exist:
- Navigate to the lesson questions you would like to print and use your browser’s print function. Usually this is found by clicking File>Print. Note: this will print everything on the screen and may not be an option on mobile devices
- Take screenshots of your answers and then print them. This allows you to print ONLY the questions and answers but takes an extra minute.
All responses to the reflection questions are accessible by CCDA staff in order to determine where future resources are needed.
If you are a veteran member of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), you may recognize the tried and true conceptual language of Christian community development (CCD). If you are new to CCDA and to CCD, you will learn the terms that we have historically used to frame our practice. You may also notice that CCDA is using new terms for the way we describe some of the components. You will also be introduced to fresh perspectives through video segments from practitioners who are innovative thinkers. We hope the lessons from this course will encourage and motivate you to generative action with local leadership and residents in the neighborhoods where you live and serve.
Before moving on, it is important to address some challenges with offering a course like this in today’s rapidly changing context.
The first challenge is that none of these components alone is unique to CCD. All of these concepts can be found in social science community-based development literature and practice. However, what is unique to CCD is the totality of them working together along with the core belief that a Christian practitioner’s faith gives added value, strength, and power to their presence and practice. But, simply stating that community-based development is Christian does not make it any different from sociological practices if we do not understand why and how our faith impacts our practice. As you proceed through this course, you will gain an increased awareness and sensitivity to what those distinctions are through our biblical foundation lessons. You will also be given guidance on practical steps to act on them.
Another challenge is that CCD practitioners have always sought to engage with each new generation in relevant ways and with language that fits particular times, contexts, and places. This generation is no different. We will have to continually work out how language and engagement with the different CCD components might need to be modified, transitioned, or changed to stay relevant for today’s practitioners.
CCDA would like to acknowledge Christine Nolf, Sandra Van Opstal for contributing editorial feedback on this course. Special thanks to Davina McDonald of American Bible Society for her editorial review of the Biblical Foundation lessons of each course.