For years, members attending our National Conference have told us that when they discovered CCDA it was like coming home. We hear it all the time: “I feel like I’ve found my people.” We all come together once a year to celebrate what God is doing in our communities and lament at the evil and injustice that plagues them. Together, we stand in awe of God’s faithfulness, and renew our sense of purpose with the Spirit and our community. Together, we remember that we all desire to see people and communities experience God’s shalom.
At the Conference, you can anticipate genuine connections with fellow practitioners from all over the country, valuable workshops on best practices in Christian Community Development, thought-provoking plenary sessions with inspiring talks, unique networking opportunities, and a wealth of resources at our exhibits.
So, here are our best tips for navigating the CCDA National Conference. We’re so glad you’re joining us:
1) Intentionally Diverse Space
At CCDA’s National Conference, you are in an intentionally diverse space – from the audience to the stage. We are an association and invite all who gather together around the belief that God wants to restore a right relationship between us, our families and our communities – spiritually, emotionally, physically, economically and socially to participate regardless of their background. Engaging with people from various traditions can provide fresh perspectives, challenge assumptions, and broaden your understanding of theology and practice. These new insights can inspire you to adapt your faith in response to evolving social, cultural, and theological changes while staying rooted in your core beliefs. We encourage you to remain open to different ideas, discuss them with a friend, and stay curious. You may disagree with someone, and that is ok, but we encourage you to try to learn from as well.
2) Find your People
This work is not meant to be done alone. As an association, we hope you will take advantage of the ways to get connected to others. Meet sponsors & exhibitors who are there to help make your community better; visit networking sessions around topics you are passionate about; pray with a chaplain; schedule a consultation; become a member of CCDA; go out with a friend for lunch and debrief. Then, you will leave this Conference saying, “I feel like I’ve found my people!”
3) Build your Schedule & Create Margin
We recommend that you build you schedule before the Conference as much as possible! We have programming from 7am-11pm. The best place to find the entire schedule of events is in the app. We do not expect you to participate in all of it! Decide what some of your goals are for this Conference, see what sessions align with those goals, and schedule some time to connect with God and do what brings you life. Spaces of margin throughout the Conference will help you process what God is speaking to you.
4) The app is your best friend.
Our Conference app really is the place you are going to find all the information you need to navigate the Conference. You can build out your schedule, learn about various speakers/presenters, find networking opportunities, etc., all in one place! The app will even help you navigate the Conference venue.
5) You will have FOMO.
The Conference has so much to offer. You will have FOMO (fear of missing out). Often, we are making choices between two amazing opportunities to participate in. That’s ok. CCDA is more than just a conference. So, make sure to take advantage of our Next Steps page. Know that if you miss out on a plenary session or workshop, you can always get the recording for those sessions on our store after the Conference or pursue learning opportunities throughout the year. If you miss out on a networking opportunity, we encourage you to check out our networks that meet between conferences. And finally, if you want to go deeper with CCDA after your experience at the Conference, you can always join the association.
You’re not alone. This is a community where your passion for God, justice, and community development will be supported and celebrated. Whether you are new to this space or a seasoned practitioner, we welcome you to the CCDA family, and hope you have a life-changing experience at the Conference this year!