Mobalizing a Christ-Centered Community Development Movement in Cleveland, Ohio: A Christian Community Development Approach

by Vatreisha A. Nyemba
October 17th, 2022

The purpose of this project was to identify how the CCD philosophy and its eight core principles can mobilize and support a Christ-Centered Community Development (CCCD) movement in Cleveland. The study was prompted by the need for the Christian community in the Greater Cleveland area to grow in its transformational approach to marginalized populations and communities.

The transformational intervention strategy related to the project was to utilize both existing momentum and the information generated from conducting a countywide research study to engage as many believers as possible. Through conducting an online survey, which received 125 responses, 11 focus groups, and 28 key influencer interviews, believers across Cuyahoga County were exposed to the principles of CCD which enabled them to make connections with other like-minded believers interested in city transformation work. Ultimately, the strategy was designed to plant seeds and water those already planted toward an emerging Christ-Centered Community Development movement.

The findings of the research were centered around the themes of 1) recognition of the Kingdom mandate to serve on the margins; 2) current activation of the Church of Cleveland within marginalized communities; 3) familiarity with the CCD approach in Cleveland, and 4) interest in advancing the CCD approach in Cleveland. The results of the research clearly revealed that the Body of Christ in the Cleveland area is unfamiliar with the CCD approach, its strategies, or the Christian Community Development Association. Based on the responses of the participants in the study, there is an interest in learning more about CCD.

Finally, the study also revealed that the principles of CCD can provide a framework to inform urban ministry within Cleveland. Most importantly, given the shared agreement about the biblical mandate to serve on the margins and outside of the walls of the church, CCD can provide a platform of agreement on which an often polarized Body of Christ can build, use as a guardrail against distraction, and gather around to seek the peace of Cleveland.