Even though I consider myself committed to and engaged in the work of Christian Community Development (CCD), I am hard pressed to provide or explain it to someone else. I also know that where we start in terms of our work with a community must change. Too often we begin by focussing on needs, problems, and/or the deficits . . . and that can tend to be the only thing we see. From that perspective, “we” take on the roll of rescuer, savior, relief provider, and often enabler. “We” are the “Haves” and “they” are the “have nots.”
I recently read a couple of posts by Wendy McCaig on her blog where she addresses and describes a much healthier perspective and approach to doing the work of community ministry. Wendy advocates an approach that looks for, recognizes, and works with the assets, strengths, and gifts that are already present in the community. It is an approach that works “with” and empowers our neighbors in the community. This perspective and approach is what has become known as an “asset based” approach to doing the work of CCD or “Asset Based Community Development” (ABCD).
In two recent posts on her blog, Wendy has provided people like me with some very useful “talking points” to share with others. If you’re at all interested in or curious about understanding ABCD and how it could be applied to your church or ministry, I encourage you to read the first of two posts on this topic at her blog by clicking on this link. In the second post, Wendy explains that there are a number of paradigm shifts that must happen before a congregation is able to begin doing ABCD effectively.