About 15 years ago, I was a part of a group of leaders who launched a city-wide faith-based youth mentoring initiative in my city. To be honest, I was charged with leading a new urban ministry and I was completely unprepared for what I was about to experience. I was optimistic and passionate, but I lacked the tools to be able to thrive in a complex urban environment.
Thankfully, someone handed me a book called Transforming Power by Robert Linthicum. That was the first book that I read about urban ministry, and it sent me on a path of discovery of other books on urban ministry.
Reading those books led me to the discovery of Bakke Graduate University and the Christian community development movement. I jumped right into a doctoral degree at BGU as soon as I could. And I also got involved with the Christian Community Development Association, or CCDA. I attended conferences, read as many books as I could find, and built relationships with a vast network of CCDA practitioners. Much of what I was learning was disorienting because it was so new. However, the tools that I learned started serving the neighborhood where I worked and lived in profound ways. The community development approaches taught at BGU and CCDA continue to impact my work as an urban pastor to this day.
Last year, a group of leaders participated in a BGU urban immersion in Dallas, Texas. Part of that course incorporated the CCDA national conference that was held in Dallas.. The BGU students took in the keynote addresses, attended workshops, visited community development
sites, and processed the information with each other each day. It was an intense experience, but it was also a fruitful experience. The leaders learned more about the tools that were available to them to engage challenging issues, just as I had discovered years before in my journey.
I am excited to share that BGU is shaping another course around a CCDA conference. The CCDA national conference will be held virtually this year, from October 1-3, due to the impact of the coronavirus. BGU is combining our signature online Transformational Leadership course with the virtual CCDA conference to create an innovative new course in the October 2020 term.
This course will be open to students in BGU’s five graduate programs, and it will also be open to leaders who want to audit it or take it as an educational learning experience.
Eventually, BGU’s urban immersions will resume. We love to bring leaders together to study what God is doing in the world using cities as a classroom. The next BGU global urban immersion is scheduled for Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from May 7-16, 2021. It’s going to be an
amazing learning experience, and, hopefully, global travel will be opening up by then. For more details about the October 2020 Transformational Leadership/CCDA course, or the next global urban immersion in Honduras in the April 2021 term, please email BGU’s Academic Dean, Dr. Bryan McCabe, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Bryan McCabe