Faith, Work, and the Church
Across our country and across our city, the news constantly reminds us of unemployment, gang violence, income inequality, food insecurity, homelessness, and more. The problems that we face are daunting, but that’s not the whole story. God is at work, and the presence of His Church is fostering reconciliation and healing.“Listen my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5).
Faith, Work & the Church is a collaboration between community partners: United Way of Greater Chattanooga, The Chalmers Center, and Hope for the Inner City are working to bring Chattanooga's churches and community leaders together. The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), a nationwide organization, is providing resources and training to make this a regional event. Community development practitioners and thinkers from across the city and region will challenge our perceptions and train us to work alongside one another to build unity in the Body of Christ and the city of Chattanooga and beyond.
In spring 2016, The Chattanooga Times Free Press published “The Poverty Puzzle”, an eight-part series that challenged the Church and the community at large to respond. This two-day gathering grew, in part, out of conversations between United Way and the Chalmers Center started by this series and the request of many area churches for information and training on poverty alleviation. At the same time, Hope for the Inner City was planning a regional training in partnership with CCDA, and it became clear that both events would be stronger by bringing them together in the same weekend.
Each of the two days will bring opportunities for pastors, deacons, ministry leaders, lay persons, and business people to learn and engage each other for long-term partnerships.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11
Economic Engagement in At-Risk Communities: Models and Tools
Facilitated by Hope for the Inner City (1800 Roanoke Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37406). Featuring:
- A networking lunch for convening Christian Community Development (CCD) practitioners from various cities in the southeast region.
- Intensive workshops hosted by local East Chattanooga churches and facilitated by various CCD practitioners throughout the region on topics relevant to the Southeast regional context.
- Discovery of local and regional opportunities for engagement and community involvement.
- An evening plenary with Dr. John Perkins, founder of the Christian Community Development Association.
You should attend this day if you are a leader or layperson in your local church, a business person, an economic/community development practitioner, or if you have a heart for God’s work in urban communities.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12
Equipping Churches to Rethink Poverty and Take the Next Steps in Engaging Low-Income Members and Neighbors
Hosted by New City Fellowship (2424 E 3rd St, Chattanooga, TN 37404)
Facilitated by The Chalmers Center for Economic Development and United Way of Greater Chattanooga. Featuring:
- Engagement with the core principles and practices of the best-selling book When Helping Hurts with co-author Dr. Brian Fikkert.
- Breakout sessions that dig deeper into practical steps you can use to help people who are poor in your city or region.
- A lunch gathering to facilitate conversation around the United Way of Greater Chattanooga’s research on education, gangs, housing, families, and other issues.
- An overview of the Chattanooga context facilitated by United Way of Greater Chattanooga.
- Breakout sessions designed to equip churches to take the next steps in engaging low-income members and neighbors, including church benevolence policies, financial education, work training, and cross-cultural partnership.
- Exploration of the 5 geographic regions of concentrated poverty in Chattanooga (East Lake, Brainerd, Alton Park, Highland Park, East Chattanooga) and the opportunity for regional attendees to collaborate with others from their own cities.
You should attend this day if you are a pastor, deacon, ministry leader, business person, or a church member with a heart for God's work among the poor.