One example of a church creating a community economic development program is Grandview Calvary Baptist Church (GCBC) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In the early 2000s, GCBC began praying and asking God how it could best serve its surrounding community. The church realized that some of the unemployed nearby were people who had education and skills, but were having trouble finding or working at full-time jobs.
The church tapped David Holcomb, an entrepreneur with a background in business and community development to create JustWork, a business incubator. Its aim is to create revenue-generating businesses that could offer dignified, meaningful work for people facing barriers to work. As of 2013, JustWork has created three such: JustRenos, a renovation firm; JustCatering, a catering service for meetings, conferences, weddings, parties, etc.; and JustPotters, which sells handcrafted pottery throughout North America. As of the end of 2013, the three JustWork enterprises employee 28 people.
Most churches have ministries to serve the communities around them, which often are called compassion, outreach or service ministries. Equipping churches include programs to equip those they serve to be successful in their own workplaces. Such ministries include business incubators, job transition or employment programs, economic, community and social development programs, trade schools, women’s business cooperatives, re-entry programs for former prisoners, and banks and finance corporations, to name just a few. Often churches draw on the expertise their members have developed in these areas through their occupations. In the USA, the Christian Community Development Association is a network of about 1000 churches and other organizations with development ministries. Churches with such ministries include:
- Abyssinian Baptist Church Development Corporation
- Bright Star Community Outreach
- Lawndale Community Church Development Corporation
- Voice of Calvary Fellowship Church – Voice of Calvary Ministries
- Wooddale Church Job Transition Support Group
- Calvary Baptist Church JustWork (see sidebar)