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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Christian Community Development is one of the most promising movements of faithfulness in the U.S. church, and beyond, in the current time. I have been in Philadelphia at the annual conference of the Christian Community Development Association. It has included inspiration, encouragement, and training for a wide range of concerns for churches.

The opening session's keynote speaker, Rev. Alyn Waller of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, set a tone of high expectation for what churches should dedicate themselves to do in their communities. The next evening, Tony Campolo spoke on leadership as service rather than titles. He quoted his pastor who said we much choose how we want to be remembered--do we want titles in our obituaries or testimonies from the people whose lives we touched through loving service. He said he would choose the testimonies.

Also on the topic of leadership, Ted Travis of Neighborhood Ministries in Denver, Colorado, said that churches need to give young people opportunities to lead, and that adults need to get out of their way to let them learn to think on their feet, make their mistakes, and grow in confidence.

Ecclesiology came up often in the sessions I attended, and more than one speaker referred to the parable of wine and wineskins. If churches are going to make room for the gospel to speak in any time and place, they will have to be willing to change the wineskins so that the new wine of the gospel can be free to do its work.

Local ministries such as the simple way, Camden House, and Yes! And . . . CAMP, all demonstrated the power of new wineskins for preserving the gospel.

As always, John Perkins was inspiring and powerful in his witness.


Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Community Development is a promising movement and so is community organizing! The two sometimes, but not always, overlap.

haitianministries said...

Thanks for this report, Mike! I'm hoping that my wife and I will be able to make it to a future CCDA conference. I just finished reading Wayne Gordon's book _New Hope in Chicago_ last weekend and found it to be both practical and inspirational as we consider how to apply the principles of CCD to our own situation here in Nassau.

haitianministries said...

I forgot to ask: Did you just attend the main conference or did you also participate in the pre-conference event for Seminary students? I'm hoping to bring some of my students to a future conference, so it would be helpful to know your thoughts on the "seminary" component if you were there. Thanks!

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