About The Community Developers Program
Established by the action of the 1968 General Conference, this ministry of the United Methodist Church recognizes God’s involvement in the world and God's will for a new future in which there is a “new heaven and a new earth." The Community Developers Program is a ministry which responds to the mandate bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and recover of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor by utilizing community organizing methodologies from a local church base.
Overview of the Community Developers Program
The Community Developers Program was established to advance the church’s capacity to be in mission through congregations in partnership with the communities where they are located. The local congregation’s effectiveness is increased through this partnership, and the community is nurtured and strengthened.
Each local church goes through an approval process for becoming a Community Developers Program site, and once approved they establish a “Local Policy Committee” which is the body that provides oversight and direction for the ministry. These are persons from the local church and the community who come together at the invitation of the church to work at bringing about equality for all persons, especially those in the immediate community of the church.
Community Developers are recruited locally and serve on the staff of traditionally Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American congregations and other congregations in rural and urban economically challenged communities. This ministry emanates from a local church and represents the church’s response to its community. Developers are identified and hired by pastors, local churches and local policy committees, and are often lay persons who find that this program affords them the opportunity to explore possibilities for professional careers within the church.
Each community developer engages the community and the local church in a variety of activities depending on existing or perceived issues, needs, resources and conditions. Some activities are more visible than others, and some may be considered more successful than others. Some receive support, while others are seen as too controversial. Activities are in the following categories: Advocacy, Social/Political Action, Community/Social Service, Economic/Racial Justice, and in all areas of focus, coalition/relationship building is at the heart of the activity.
Photo: Participants of the Dreamchasers Program "Rocket Science Initiative" at Shalom Zone, Inc. in Milwaukee, WI, a CDP site through Solomon Community United Methodist Church.