Common Good 2015
What is the Common Good Conference?
Christ Community Church Kansas City created the Common Good conference in 2013 as a way to engage in a conversation about the common good–a subject that is not often addressed directly, especially among Christians. What is the common good? Is it optional? What’s the best way to do it? Where do we start?
This conference is for those who want to explore the role the common good should play in our Christian lives, and for those who are already working in their communities and want to dig deeper.
In partnership with Christ Community, we co-hosted the CG2015 conference in October of 2015. The theme was collaboration for the common good: going beyond individual contribution to collaborating as neighbors in the best possible way for the flourishing of Kansas City.
- It’s More Than Compassion: From Contribution to Collaboration, Tom Nelson
- What Collaboration is Not, Brian Fikkert
- (See the very helpful 7-minute highlight summary of this message)
- Collaboration in Everyday Life: Beyond Joining Committees & Networking Events, Greg Forster
- Collaboration in Kansas City: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Stan Archie
CG talks were 10-minute short talks from key practitioners.
- The Government as Collaboration Facilitator, Mark Holland
- Championship Fathering, Carey Casey
- Immigration: Threat or Opportunity, Matthew Soerens
- Human Imagination Serves Human Flourishing, Luke Bobo
- Building Community for the Community, Kathleen Hanlon
- Lessons from Entrepreneurial Creativity, George Brooks
Founder and President of Chalmers Center for Economic Development
Brian is the author of When Helping Hurts. He received a Ph.D. in Economics with highest honors from Yale University, and a B.A. in Mathematics from Dordt College. Specializing in Third World Development and International Economics, Brian has been a consultant to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the United States Agency for International Development. He has published articles in both leading academic and popular journals and has been a contributor to several books. Prior to teaching Economics at Covenant College, he was a professor at the University of Maryland and a research fellow at the Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector.
President of Made to Flourish Network
Together with his bride Liz, he founded Christ Community in 1989, and he currently serves as the Senior Pastor. Tom earned a Masters of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Trinity International University. He is the author of Five Smooth Stones: Discovering the Path To Wholeness of Soul, Ekklesia: Rediscovering God’s Design for the Church, and Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work. Tom serves on the boards of The Gospel Coalition and Trinity International University, and has two grown children.
Co-founder and Senior Pastor of Christian Fellowship Baptist Church
Stan serves as the President and CEO of Christian Fellowship Ministries which is committed to the revitalization of the urban neighborhoods to establish self-sufficient and self-sustaining communities. Stan is married and has three children, serves as board chairman of the Kansas City Leadership Foundation and is owner and principal consultant of Successful Edge Consultants. Archie earned a degree in divinity and organizational leadership at Calvary Bible College and a masters degree in education at MidAmerica Nazarene University.
Director of Oikonomia Network
Oikonomia Network is a national learning community of evangelical seminaries committed to equipping pastors with a theological understanding of faith, work, and economics, and how they relate to the pastoral calling. Also, Greg is Visiting Assistant Professor of Faith and Culture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; editor of Hang Together, a group blog on religion, politics, and national identity; senior fellow at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice; author of six books and numerous articles in both academic and popular publications; and a regular contributor to The Gospel Coalition, First Thoughts, and Jay P. Greene’s Blog. His writing covers theology, economics, political philosophy, and education policy. He received a doctorate with distinction in political philosophy from Yale University.
CG Talks Speakers
CG Talks were 10-minute short talks by key practitioners with experience in different fields.
The Government as a Collaboration Facilitator by Mark Holland – Mayor of Kansas City, Kansas
Mayor Holland is a fourth generation Wyandotte Countian and a third generation United Methodist Clergy in KCK. With his father a pastor and his mother a school teacher, Mark grew up with strong faith and educational values as well as a deep commitment to community. He has served as the Senior Pastor at Trinity Community Church, a United Methodist Congregation in Kansas City, Kansas since 1999. Mark has a passion for his family, church, and improving the quality of life of all residents in Wyandotte County.
Championship Fathering by Carey Casey – CEO of the National Center for Fathering
Carey Casey has served on the White House Task Force on Fatherhood and Healthy Families since 2009. He shares his anecdotes and insights in his book, Championship Fathering: How to Win at Being a Dad, which includes practical application, providing an excellent resource for small-group training. Through his work across the country, Casey has earned a reputation as a dynamic communicator, especially on the topic of men being good fathers. He’s known as a compassionate ambassador, particularly within the American sports community. He is also general editor of The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge – Three Weeks to a Better Relationship With Your Kids (2011).
Immigration: Threat or Opportunity? by Matt Soerens – Field Director for Evangelical Immigration Table at World Relief
Soerens serves as the US Church Training Specialist for World Relief. He assists churches in understanding the complexities of immigration from a biblical perspective, and previously worked as a Board of Immigration Appeals-accredited legal counselor at World Relief’s local office in DuPage County, Illinois and, before that, worked with World Relief Nicaragua. Matthew is the co-author, with Jenny Yang, of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate (InterVarsity Press, 2009). He also serves as the Field Director for the Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition of Christian organizations of which World Relief is a founding member.
Human Imagination Serves Human Flourishing by Luke Bobo – Professor at KU and Resident Theologian at BBT
Dr. Luke Bobo is the Curriculum Director for Biblical Business Training. The Lord brought Luke to the BBT team in August 2013, connecting them through Luke’s passion for helping people apply biblical principles at work. Luke is an Adjunct Professor for Christian Ministry Studies (CMS) at Lindenwood University, in St. Charles, Missouri. He is a gifted adult educator with a PhD in rabbinic andragogy from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, bringing with him more than a decade of educating adults in practical theology. He is the author of several articles, book chapters and the book, Living Salty and Light-filled Lives in the Workplace.
Cristo Rey Kansas City: Building Community for the Community: How to leverage collaboration with schools and the corporate sector for the flourishing of the vulnerable by Kathleen Hanlon – President of Cristo Rey Kansas City
Dr. Hanlon was appointed as the new president of Cristo Rey Kansas City High School in June 2011. Prior to her current work as a consultant, Hanlon served as the President of Queen of Peace High school in Burbank, Illinois, and the Principal of Edgewood High School in Madison,Wisconsin. Hanlon also has experience (at the university level) in the academic realm -where she has served at three different Universities as Assistant Professor of Education: Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois; Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois; and Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. Her passion for, and enthusiasm about, the mission of Catholic education, and Cristo Rey in particular, is evident in her day to day interactions at CRKC.
Lessons from Entrepreneurial Creativity by George Brooks – Co-founder of Cremalab
George Brooks is the founder and product lead of Cremalab, where he leads a team of incredibly talented designers and developers to build great product experience for brands across the country. As a leading entrepreneur in Kansas City, George is involved in a number of other collaborative entrepreneurial efforts, including Startup Weekends and 1 Million Cups. His experience in starting new ventures and collaborating across disciplines is coupled with a deep passional about leading an integral life with Christ.
John Brewer Trio
At CG2015 we enjoyed music from The John Brewer Trio. The John Brewer Trio started over 10 years ago playing predominately original contemporary jazz. They produced three independent original albums. As time has passed, the band has started to focus on the American songbook.
The lyrical content, familiarity with listeners, and the joy these songs bring help the band better connect with the audience. This new approach has allowed John to introduce his voice into the trio, an addition which he’s really excited about.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
In our nation of immigrants, we celebrate the National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, to recognize the contributions of Latinos to our country, and honor their heritage and culture. Paying homage to our Latino brothers and sisters, The John Brewer Trio delighted us with a Latin Music Ensemble on Saturday from 10:00 to 10:20 at our Brookside Campus auditorium.
Brian Fikkert: First World Poverty – Q Ideas
Is our definition of success making us poor? Brian Fikkert says it’s our flawed understanding of success that’s making us sick and mentally ill. The solution is to better understand what God says human flourishing looks like. It starts from understanding what it means to be made in the image of God.
Tom Nelson: Neighborly Love: Why Both Compassion and Capacity Matter – Faith@Work
With all the multifaceted challenges of the modern day global economy, one of the most compelling cries of the contemporary world is for jobs. How is the church responding to this cry? In his story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches that neighborly love requires not only heartfelt compassion, but also economic capacity. If we are going to take Jesus’ teaching seriously, then we not only need to teach robust theology, we must also become redemptive communities where diligent work is encouraged and economic wisdom is celebrated.
Ernesto Sirolli: Shut Up and Listen! – TED Talks
When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit.
Paul Metzger: Downward Mobility and Trickle-Up Economics – F. H. Henry Center
Evangelicalism has struggled to address the structures of racism and poverty, and has often uncritically embraced money and power in pursuit of problematic versions of upward mobility and the American Dream. Rather than being known for desiring power politics and material prosperity that fail to challenge racialization and economic disparity, we ought to be known for holding true to God in Christ—the downwardly mobile God.
Ruth Padilla: Holistic Mission and Social Justice – NZoneTonight
What does being Christian look like in the practical realities of our countries & communities? How can churches minister more effectively in their neighbourhoods?
Using the Kansas City metropolitan area as a case study, Gotham provided both quantitative and qualitative documentation of the role of the real estate industry and the Federal Housing Administration, demonstrating how these institutions have promulgated racial residential segregation and uneven development. Gotham challenged contemporary explanations while providing fresh insights into the racialization of metropolitan space, and the importance of analyzing housing as a system of social stratification.
When it comes to immigration, Christians find themselves torn between the desire to uphold laws and the call to minister to the vulnerable. This book puts a human face on the issue and tell stories of immigrants’ experiences in and out of the system. With careful historical understanding, it debunks myths and misconceptions and shows the limitations of the current immigration system. Ultimately it points toward immigration reform that is compassionate, sensible and just, as it offers concrete ways for you and your church to welcome and minister to your immigrant neighbors.
- Andy Crouch: What’s So Great About the Common Good – Q Ideas
- Vincent Bacote: Beyond ‘Faithful Presence’: Abraham Kuyper’s Legacy for Common Grace and Cultural Development – Markets and Morality
- Fred Dews: Why Does Racial Inequality Persist Long After Jim Crow? – Brookings
- Matt Soerens: How Faith Informs Our Thoughts on Immigration – In All Things
- Various authors: Economic Wisdom Project – Oikonomia Network
- Q Ideas: educates church and cultural leaders on their role and opportunity to embody the Gospel in public life.
- Christian Community Development Association: to inspire, train, and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities.
- Institute for Faith, Works & Economics: to educate and inspire Christians to live out a Biblical theology that integrates faith, work, and economics.
- Evangelical Immigration Table: resources for thinking about immigration from a biblical perspective.
- Faith @ Work Summit: to gather leaders from various arenas to learn from each other and consider how we can serve the Lord of the marketplace more biblically, faithfully, collaboratively, constructively and effectively.
- @ahc: Andy Crouch, author of Playing God, Culture Making
- @noelccda: Noel Castellanos, CEO of Christian Community Development Association
- @miroslavvolf: Miroslav Volf, founding Director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture
- @salgueros: Gabriel and Jeanette Salguero, co-lead pastors of the multicultural Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in New York City
- @churchpain: Chet Churchpain, voted Least Popular Guy at Church 3 years in a row
The Global Orphan Project is an Orphan Care and Orphan Prevention ministry headquartered in Kansas City. They work with local churches, both internationally and domestically, to help them provide family based care for orphaned and abandoned children in their communities. One of their most important initiatives is The Care Portal, an online tool that enables Churches to learn of and quickly respond to needs from families in their neighborhoods.
Entrenched in the east side community of Kansas City, The Hope Center seeks to honor God by transforming their community from being a violent, hope-starved and declining one, to a place where the vulnerable can flourish. Their approach to this transformation is guided by their commitment to build a strong youth development ministry as well as a volunteer-based primary care medical clinic, a public charter school, and a neighborhood church.
Cristo Rey is committed to bringing excellent education to some of the most vulnerable students in our city. With an excellent teaching staff and the commitment of the business community in Kansas City, culturally diverse students with economic needs receive a college prep education made meaningful through an innovative corporate work study program.
Find more info about Cristo Rey at cristoreykc.org.
Other Organizations Working in Kansas City
- World Relief: in community with the local Church, World Relief envisions the most vulnerable people transformed economically, socially, and spiritually.
- National Center for Fathering: it strives to inspire and equip fathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child.
- Heart of America Indian Center: to encourage social, educational, and economic advancement of the American Indian community by promoting traditional and cultural values.
- Urban Scholastic Center: dedicated to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples who will become socially responsible Christian leaders.
- Rehabilitation Center of Kansas City: to help those we serve achieve greater independence at home, school or work, and in the community.
- CFBC Freedom School: to enrich and build character in today’s youth, their family, and our staff through literacy and life on life investments.
- Kansas City Rescue Mission: a Christ-centered community offering freedom and hope to the poor and homeless, empowering them to reach their full potential.
- The Culture House: a gathering place where neighbors engage in the arts and get to know one another better.
- Franklin Center: restoring the iconic Franklin Center Building, to be the a thriving hub for our neighborhood as a multi-use community center.
A Brief History of Kansas City
Before the US
Blacks were among Missouri’s earliest non-Indian population. In 1720, mining promoter Philippe Renault imported some 500 black enslaved people from the French island of Haiti to mine lead near Mine La Motte. Most of Missouri enslaved people didn’t work in plantations but mines. A enslaved man costed $1,200, a female one $1,000, and boys and girls ranged from $500 to $1,000.
After Spain and France were done buying and selling Louisiana (which included Kansas and Missouri), Napoleon sold it to the US in 1803. In 1831, a group of Mormons fleeing religious persecution, settled in what we know now as Kansas City, Missouri. Soon, they were forced out of there too, and John McCoy established himself in the vacant settlement: Westport.
Kansas City has played a key role in the colonization of the west (all major trails passed though it), and in the Civil War, where the city had divided allegiances. Kansas was opened to settlement in 1854, and many abolitionist from the East Coast and pro-slavery settlers from Missouri moved there, trying to swing the state to break the balance between free and slave states. In 1961 Kansas entered the Union as a free state, and as the conflicts continued, they would eventually lead into a civil war.
The War Has Ended
After emancipation in 1865, blacks could move to Missouri and Kansas as free people in search of opportunity. many came from the South in the early 1900s to farm cotton as sharecroppers. New cotton lands had been created by swamp drainage and labor was needed. Under the sharecropping system, a landowner provided each tenant with a shack, mules, seed, tools, and credit. Profits were to be shared equally, but high prices and interest rates kept most sharecroppers in debt.
When the war ended, Kansas City grew very quickly, and at the beginning of the 20th century, Pendergast and company got hold of it. Prohibition brought wealth and misery hand in hand, and it also brought jazz music. The city’s main industries were meatpacking and garment factories, who took all the influx of skilled tailors migrating from eastern Europe that New York couldn’t absorbe.
Kansas City and Real Estate
When the second Big War ended in 1945, Kansas City thrived with the New Deal’s money, and suburban developers like Nichols knew how to take full advantage of it, building new house complexes that banned blacks and other minorities. Neighborhood covenants, that allow tenants to exclude non-whites from a neighborhood, are not enforceable anymore, but still exist.
Returning war veterans were able to buy houses thanks to the GI Bill. Acquiring property that increased value, allowed a whole generation to secure their wealth, send their kids to college, and be vaulted into middle class. From 1934 to 1962, the government gave 77,000 loans in the Kansas City area, from which less than 1% of them went to black veterans. Those blacks who did get loans, could only use them in the neighborhoods where they were allowed to live, which were under-developed and over-priced, and the property always devaluated.
Housing segregation became illegal in 1968, but Troost Avenue is a witness that its effects remain. There has been neighborhood associations like 42/69, and different organizations like Communities Creating Opportunities, the Hope Center, and the Housing Authority which works to create affordable housing in the city, and many others, who have been working tirelessly to put an end to Kansas City’s racial division.
The Fair Housing Act of 1968 sought to alleviate this by guaranteeing mortgages to anybody, which real state brokers took advantage of, selling houses to people who couldn’t afford it, mostly black, and then getting a reimbursement from the government. An early version of the 2008 economic crisis.
Nowadays, the Kansas City metro has a population of 2,07 million, the 29th largest metropolitan area in the US. It’s famous for it’s barbecue, jazz, and its Country Club Plaza, designed after Seville.
Places to Visit in Kansas City
Here’s a list of some places to visit:
American Jazz Museum and Blue Room
1616 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO
Opening in 1997 as the anchor to Kansas City’s 18th & Vine District Redevelopment, the American Jazz Museum celebrates jazz legends like Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald. Enjoy live jazz every night of the week at the Blue Room.
20 E 5th St, Kansas City, MO
Open daily and featuring an eclectic mix of dining, shopping, entertainment and attractions in a unique open-air setting, the City Market offers visitors a variety of fresh produce, meats, specialty groceries, flowers and gift items from nearby farms and around the world.
Power & Light and Crossroads Art District
Between 7th and 20th St, Kansas City, MO
Have a stroll downtown, and enjoy all the public sculptures around the area. Don’t forget to visit the Central Library, built as the First National Bank in 1906, and its beautiful rooftop. South of the Power & Light, right across 15th St, is the Crossroads Art District, full of great restaurants and art galleries that open to the public every first Friday of the month. Don’t miss the Kauffman Center, a magnificent auditorium built by Moshe Safdie.
30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO
Erected in 1914, Union Station is a Beaux-Arts building that is worth a visit if you’re in Kansas City. In 2002, it saw its return as a train station and has since become Missouri’s second-busiest train station.
Penn Valley Park, W 29 St, Kansas City, MO
This beautiful statue of a Sioux Indian on horseback surveying the landscape is more than 10 feet tall, and located on the best spot of the city to overlook the skyline, including the iconic “Wester Auto” light sign.
National World War I Museum
100 W 26th St, Kansas City, MO
Another great location for an amazing view of Kansas City, this museum tells the story of the Great War. Visitors enter the facility across an impressive glass bridge above a field of 9,000 red poppies, each one representing 1,000 combatant deaths.
2450 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO
Apart from a shopping center a Hallmark’s headquarters, the Crown Center features the biggest fountain of the city, with 48 water shooters, synchronized to music recorded by the Kansas City Symphony. Inside the mall, stop at Sheridan’s and try its delicious and local frozen custard.
South of 39th, Kansas City, MO
Now a hip neighborhood, Westport was the oldest established community in Kansas City, on the way of the Oregon Trail. Enjoy its numerous restaurants, boutiques and nightlife.
Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO
This neoclassical building is best known for hosting a select exhibition of modern art including one Warhol’s soup can, and an extensive collection of Asian sculpture. The giant shuttlecocks located outside the museum have become a Kansas City icon.
3002 W 47th St, Kansas City, KS
You haven’t experienced Kansas City if you haven’t wait 30 minutes in line to try the scrumptious ribs sever in this hole-in-the-wall inside a gas station. And do not even think about taking a table before ordering!