Six months ago I had never heard of the Christian Community Development Association. Now, I am at a CCDA conference that has attracted more than 2,500 people, and it’s just amazing. Here’s why:
1) The worship is great. God is exalted, and the followers of Christ are challenged to truly follow Him. CCDA is definitely about ministering to the “least of these,” but it all starts with worship of the Lord of all.
2) Young adults are everywhere. They are excited about God and engaged in their culture. The older folks are pouring their wisdom into these young people, and this new generation of leaders is soaking it up and adding their own understanding to the mix. Anyone who thinks Christianity is dead or dying hasn’t met these younger folks. Any older believers who want to connect with them should understand that you had better mean business about really living for Christ if you want to be on the same page with them.
3) The racial diversity is inspiring. I have no idea what the dominate racial group is at this meeting. The mix is in the audience and on the stage. As one speaker said, the audience looks like America.
4) The gender diversity is inspiring. Men were instrumental in founding CCDA, but women are thoroughly involved in leadership, and I think that’s one of the reasons the conference is so good. Men and women are bringing their giftedness to the table. (This should not be a problem for those concerned about NT teaches regarding authority in the church. This is not about the exercise of authority. The key leaders and board members of CCDA speak of a shared leadership approach. It’s not about ordination or preaching; it’s about doing what God has gifted you to do in service of others.)
5) This stuff is evangelistic. We Baptists are big on missions and evangelism; community development gives us some handles to hang onto in doing missions and evangelism.
I could go on. You can see that this group has gotten my attention and my appreciation. Their first meeting was held in 1989, and they have quietly been growing these past 20 years. God appears to be at work in this group; and, like Henry Blackaby said, we should seek to join God where He is at work.
The BGCT’s very own Gerald Davis, director of community development, is one of 28 members of the CCDA Board. He stands ready to come alongside our churches that want to impact their communities for Christ, especially in ministry to the poor and the deaf. He can’t be everywhere at once, but he sure tries.
(Originally written by me for the We Are Texas Baptists blog on this date but not published.)