The solutions to problems of urban America have generated many philosophies. However, the most creative long-term solutions to the problems of the poor are coming from grass roots and church-based efforts. The solutions are coming from people who see themselves as the ambassadors for Jesus in their own communities.
This concept is known as Christian Community Development. The concept is based on Biblical principles and practical experiences from years of living and working among the poor. In 1960, John and Vera Mae Perkins developed this philosophy to help alleviate poverty and oppression in Mississippi. Through their work and ministry, Christian Community Development was conceived. Christian Community Development has hundreds of models around the country making great progress in urban and rural communities. Locally, the Center for Community Development is an example of Christian Community Development.
The Center for Community Development is committed to listening to the community residents and hearing their dreams, ideas and thoughts. This is known as the felt need concept. Listening is important because the people of the community are the treasures of the future. The talents and abilities of the residents can solve the problems that exist. Community residents must see themselves as the solution to the problems.
Asset-based community development focuses on the assets of a community and building upon them. Christian Community Development and Asset-Based Community Development, when used together, can have extremely positive results. Every community has assets, but they are often neglected. Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) identifies all of the assets in the community that helps the community see its many positive characteristics. It is through these assets that people develop their community.
The church has not been involved in developing its communities. Often, the communities across the country see the church as an unfriendly neighbor. Many churches are open only on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Communities across our nation believe the church should be connected to the needs of the people around them. Because of this, grassroots organizations have started to love their neighbors and their neighborhood. The Center for Community Development works with churches, schools and community organizations to take action towards the development of its community.