Baylor > Social Work > Research & Publications > City Core Initiative

City Core Initiative

City Core Initiative (CCI) is a BGCT Church Missions and Evangelism Section project designed to refocus the church to the core of the city for community transformation. In its initial research phase, the City Core Initiative has one immediate goal. It is to create gospel-centered strategies that will aid local churches in achieving holistic community transformation. In its later stages, CCI aims to help Texas Baptist congregations to implement these strategies in order to see community transformation come about in their own communities. At this time, CCI aims to build a knowledge base to help local churches to:

• Understand the major issues of the city core

• Discover what programs, resources, and "best practices" already exist

• Identify and build upon existing community resources and assets

• Identify areas of community need

Working with partner churches and organizations, CCI seeks to launch new missional strategies for reaching the economic, ethnic, and culturally diverse mission field of America's urban communities. CCI will initially focus on four Texas cities: Abilene, Dallas, San Antonio, and Tyler.

Research Overview

Baylor University's Center for Family and Community Ministries (CFCM) will lead the research initiative for Dallas. This research will incorporate existing community building models, while emphasizing a holistic approach to societal, economic, and spiritual transformation of the city. The research will involve three primary phases. In Phase I (June - Aug 2004), the researchers will:

• Investigate & document existing community transformation models

• Develop the CCI model research instrument

• Conduct a field test

• Refine the instrument

• Build relationships with Dallas pastors, community leaders, etc.

• Select the sample community from within the I-12 Loop in Dallas, TX.

In Phase II (Sept - Dec 2004), the researchers will conduct the research in the sample community, in cooperation with local pastors and association leaders. Since the purpose is to help local churches develop a holistic understanding of their communities, the following community information will be catalogued:

• Demographic profile

• Existing churches & ministries

• Networks present

• Identifiable social/political systems

• Community assets (including congregational, economic, social, etc.)

• Community needs

• Spiritual climate

CCI is committed to taking an assets-based approach to community transformation. This approach is rooted in the fact that communities have capacities, wealth, assets, talents, abilities, gifts, and strengths that will form the foundation for community renewal. The research model will focus on taking inventory of available strengths within community members, structures, businesses, associations, and relationships. These strengths will then become the basis for congregational action or service.

The research model will also be user-friendly to both laypersons and local church leaders, since that is the target audience for the instrument itself. The research process will be replicable, documented, and easy to use. It will be free of denominational or academic jargon, in order to encourage widespread collaboration among local community leaders. The research team is committed to working together with local community members and leaders, in order to model the way the research will be conducted in other cities.

Phase III of the project (Jan - Apr, 2005) will involve collecting and publishing the results of the research gathered in the Dallas community. Both the research model and the research findings will be compiled in a final report. The research model will be available in an electronically reproducible format that may be downloaded from the World Wide Web.

In this initial research phase of the City Core Initiative, the goal is to create gospel-centered strategies that will aid local churches in achieving holistic community transformation. To see this goal reached, there 4 objectives of the CCI, Dallas research. They are:

• To develop a reproducible model for local churches and associations to formulate holistic understandings of the assets and needs in their urban communities. This model will be downloadable from the World Wide Web.

• To implement the research model in one Dallas community

• To create an action plan for that community which incorporates research findings and outlines next steps for the local faith community to implement community change

•To disseminate research findings in such a way that churches and associations may be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop community transformation strategies in their own communities