Ciudad Nueva takes its place in the big picture of Christian community development.
At Ciudad Nueva, we sometimes take time to talk about leadership development and what it means. However, over the years, leadership development has most often come in the form of modeling and sharing. We learn from those who have gone before us and mentor those who are coming up behind us.
From the beginning, when I started at Ciudad Nueva, I tried to visit and learn from anyone I could. If I drove through a city or was heading somewhere out of town, I would often try to track down and visit similar ministries. This was the beginning of a network of connections which have richly informed the development of our organization.
Getting connected to Christian Community Development
Many years ago, when I started seeking out relationships with other groups working in similar ways to Ciudad Nueva, I was prompted by a number of motivations: a need to feel connected, a desire for new ideas, and a search for best practices. Over the years this has flourished into deep relationships with leaders around the region, the country, and the world.
Then, in 2005, I attended a Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) conference and immediately felt like I had found the “tribe” that Ciudad Nueva needed to be connected to. Here I found a group of thousands of people, all working toward the goal of seeking Christ-centered neighborhood transformation in some of the most desperate communities around the country. I hungered for this fellowship, but I was only working part time and we didn’t have the budget to attend regularly.
Over the next five to six years I attended a few more CCDA conferences. Then I applied for and was accepted to a leadership cohort that the CCDA had recently started. This was comprised of a couple dozen leaders from around the country who are brought together over a two year period to build relationships, meet seasoned Christian community development practitioners, learn best practices, and potentially move into leadership roles within the organization.
As my cohort was finishing in 2012, I joined the newly-formed Global Connections Committee and soon became the chairman. I was then asked if I would join the national board of directors.
Global, national, and local connections that make us part of the whole
Through our work on the CCDA Global Connections Committee, we developed and strengthened bonds with Micah Global to partner at an international level. Micah Global is a worldwide Christian movement committed to integral mission (meaning mission that is holistic and transformational) and community development. Micah has a presence in about 90 countries with formal national movements in about 50 countries.
A couple of years ago, I was invited to join the Micah Global board to represent Ciudad Nueva and the national CCDA movement. Over that same period, we worked locally to form the El Paso CCDA, and regionally, forming the Border Southwest CCDA to inspire, train, equip, and connect people closer to home.
How does it all fit together?
One analogy to describe my involvement in these broader organizations uses the example of a church denomination.
Most denominations are structured with:
- A local diocese (regional body),
- A national organization (national body), and
- A worldwide denominational gathering (global body).
From the perspective of Ciudad Nueva and our work in the community, we connect with Christian Community Development movements, not a diocese or denominational body.
- CCDA Border/Southwest – We have helped form this regional group which is like a diocese. We recently hosted this group at our “Life on the Border” gathering helping to connect with what others are doing in our region.
- Christian Community Development Association USA – This is our national covering. This is the organization that inspires, trains, and connects groups like Ciudad Nueva. About 15,000 groups, churches, and individuals are connected through the CCDA. http://www.ccda.org/about/vision-mission
- Micah Global – Micah Global is like the global organization for us. Its purpose is to motivate and equip a global community of Christians to embrace and practice integral mission (another phrase for Christian community development). http://www.micahnetwork.org/what-we-do
Big ideas with practical applications
All of these broader connections have both enriched and informed us as a community at Ciudad Nueva. Some of our core values, which have come from our learning experiences with these organizations, include ways that we approach our ministry every day:
- Build relationships.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Someone somewhere has thought deeply about how to best move forward in almost every area.
- Maintain a humble approach.
- Join forces with others whenever it makes sense.
- Absorb as much as possible.
Global vision with local application
I grew up outside of the United States, and a significant piece of my heart has always been drawn to challenges facing the majority world. In fact, that’s what I studied in college.
When I started working at Ciudad Nueva, focusing on a small neighborhood in El Paso, I had to very consciously choose to set those dreams aside. I never imagined that God would somehow orchestrate a path for me to be involved with national and global movements based out of the work in our beautiful little community in El Paso. This is truly humbling to me whenever I think about it.
Watch for our next post about practical ways that these connections influence our work at Ciudad Nueva.