The Christian Community Development Association
(CCDA) is a network of Christians committed to seeing people and communities wholistically restored. We believe that God wants to restore us not only to right relationship with Himself but also with our own true selves, our families and our communities. Not just spiritually, but emotionally, physically, economically, and socially. Not by offering mercy alone, but by undergirding mercy with justice.
We believe that God wants to restore us not only to right relationship with Himself but also with our own true selves, our families and our communities. Not just spiritually, but emotionally, physically, economically, and socially. Not by offering mercy alone, but by undergirding mercy with justice.
To this end, we follow Jesus’s example of reconciliation. We go where the brokenness is. We live among the people in some of America’s neediest neighborhoods. We become one with our neighbors until there is no longer an “us” and “them” but only a “we.” And, in the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, “we work and pray for the well-being of our city [or neighborhood],” trusting that if the entire community does well and prospers, then we will prosper also.
Those of us who orient our lives around this practice we call Christian Community Development (CCD) Practitioners. As Practitioners, we often commit to living in an under-resourced neighborhood for a minimum of 10 years. This is obviously no easy task. But we believe that true and lasting change takes time and requires real relationships. We think this approach is pretty unique.
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.
The CCD philosophy can be summed up by the three “R’s”: Relocation, Reconciliation, and Redistribution. Learn more about our philosophy and our Practitioners.
The roots of the Christian Community Development Association stretch back to 1960 when CCDA Founder, John Perkins (along with his wife, Vera Mae) relocated their family to the struggling community of Mendenhall, Mississippi to work with the people there. The Perkinses devoted thirty-five years to living out the principles of Christian Community Development in Mississippi and California, leaving behind ministries and churches that are now headed by indigenous Christian leaders.
In 1989, Dr. Perkins called together a group of Christian leaders from across America who were bonded by one significant commitment, expressing the love of Jesus in America’s poor communities. Not at arm’s length, but at the grassroots level. An association was formed, and CCDA held its first annual conference in Chicago in 1989. Read the full story here.