The CCDA is comprised of thousands of Christians throughout the States and around the world. Founded by Dr. John Perkins, “the 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.” (http://ccda.org/about).
Many of us work in broken, poor neighborhoods across America. We fight for social justice, for racial reconciliation, and for the poor. But most importantly, we love Jesus and seek to follow his command to love him, and to love others.
From Wednesday evening through Saturday Evening, approximately 3,000 people gathered in Indianapolis for the annual CCDA conference. The theme for this year was Innovate. When efforts are old or just aren’t cutting it, and when realities within the poor communities we work change, we must innovate with fresh solutions.
This was the third CCDA national conference I have attended. However, it was different for me in that during my first conference, I was a college student, and during my second conference, I was officially representing a nonprofit organization. During this conference, however, I was representing myself and came to learn without any ties to a school or organization.
Having traveled with several good friends from my church community in the Chattanooga area, I came away from Indianapolis greatly encouraged and inspired. Conversations during the 16 hours on the road were delightful (coming & going combined). I saw several friends from Boston. I met some people doing incredible work around the world. I sat under the teaching of community development warriors including Dr. John Perkins and Wayne Gordon. I learned. I fellowshipped.
There are many thoughts & reflections I am taking away from CCDA 2011. (I just got home today)! Here are just two of these reflections. I may add more to this blog post, or publish subsequent blog posts as I continue to reflect, but I wanted to get these two in writing now.
- “If we’re too busy to spend time with God, we’re simply too busy.” I am an avid Twitter user, and read this (unrelated-to-CCDA) tweet by @ourdailybread, followed by the tweet’s link (http://odb.org/2011/10/13/too-busy-to-know-god/) Thursday morning and was reminded what drives those of us who are members of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA): our utter dependence on God for everything we do.The CCDA is Christian first. So often, in our busyness, we get preoccupied trying to “do good” or “serve the poor” that we forget to spend time with our Creator. Throughout each annual CCDA national conference, Dr. Perkins preaches a “bible study” each morning before the conference kicks off for the day. On Friday morning, preaching from I Timothy, Perkins said that Jesus called his disciples to live with him, and that it is only after being his disciple, steeped in the Fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) that we can then go out into the world.
What a great reminder and wake-up call this was for me!
- Urban American communities and the Christian nonprofits which work in these communities continue to need innovative technological improvements, in some areas that I have not thought of before. Moreover, there are ways I haven’t thought about before in which I could partner with nonprofits across America to help residents learn technology skills.I had some great discussions with folks in my car on the drive to and from the CCDA conference, and I learned more about several great organizations. I can see that God is continuing to shape my vision for the future, and that it is one that is constantly evolving. The more I talk about it, the better I am able to articulate it. And the better I’m able to articulate this vision, the more people God seems to put into my life to prod me on, and to help me think of even more ideas.
As many of my readers know, I studied Community Development but have always been a self-taught computer & IT geek. My vision is to someday merge these two passions together so that I (and my business, Smooth Stone Services) can help nonprofits around the world with their technology needs. I hope to cultivate the ideas and relationships formed (and/or strengthened) over the past 4 days in following whatever he has in store for this business.
These are reflections that I take seriously, and I will work to put these into practice, even now.
This was edited on Monday, Dec 17, 2012 to change the name of the business from Smooth Stone Services (old) to CENTS (new).