CCDA conference recap

In November, several CSM staff members loaded into a van for a road trip to Charlotte, NC. They attended a 3-day conference with the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). CSM has been a part of CCDA for many years, and Tracy Hipps, our director, has been significantly influenced by its founder, John Perkins, and his ministry. Tracy, Rhonda, Jamie L., Katy, Jamie H., and Demitri Carpenter (CSM Junior Board member) had a wonderful time together, growing closer to the Lord and hearing about new ideas and experiences in the community development field.

Ministries, churches, and other non-profits from the country came together that weekend to worship the Lord as one body, receive messages from several keynote speakers, and attend workshops to further Christian community development.

The theme for the weekend was “Well Being,” and each speaker defined this phrase as they began their message. We quickly discovered that we easily identified with the need for “Well Being” and holistic practices after our covid years.

Pastor Jonathan Brooks greatly impacted our staff with his sermon on Jesus calming the storm from Matthew 14:22-34. He talked about the disciples’ fear and how Jesus still “has us” regardless of what we are going through. He ended his time by leading the conference attendees in singing the chorus to “It is Well.” His message particularly moved Rhonda. She said kicking off the weekend with that hymn stayed in her spirit throughout the conference.

The worship times Katy had before each session encouraged her. She said, “The praise music was wonderful, and it is uplifting to sing with many believers from different cultures and backgrounds. I could feel God’s presence in the room when we all praised Him together.”

Seeing people get back together who hadn’t seen each other since covid encouraged and excited us. Learning from friends and neighbors in similar fields through their experiences greatly benefits us when we attend the CCDA conference.