Resources for churches on asset-based community development (ABCD)

ABCD (asset-based community-driven development)

A while ago somebody asked me about resources on strengths-based approaches to community development for churches. Here are some suggestions, mainly related to asset-based community-driven development (ABCD).

Articles about ABCD and churches or faith communities.

Barrett, A. (2013). Asset-based community development: A theological reflection. Church Urban Fund. Available from:

Church Urban Fund. (2013). Tackling poverty in England: An asset-based approach. Available from:

Magezi, V. (2017). Making community development at grassroots reality: Church-driven development approach in Zimbabwe’s context of severe poverty. In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi, 51(1), 1-12. doi:

McKnight, J. (1989). Why “servanthood” is bad. The Other Side (January/February), 38-41. Available from

Rans, S., & Altman, H. (2002). Asset-based strategies for faith communities. Evanston: Asset-Based Community Development Institute. Available from

Van Gronigen, J. (2007). An introduction to asset based community development for church leaders. Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. Available from:

Videos with some examples of ABCD by churches

This is a great example of ABCD led by a church community introduced by Wendy McCaig. (I make a few brief comments about the video here.)

A TED talk by DeAmon Harge (a faculty member of the ABCD Institute) about his work with Broadway Church. (I have made a few comments about the talk here.)

Other resources

Wendy McCaig (featured in the video above) has lots of resources about ABCD on her website View from the Bridge: Bridging Church and World

There is a widely referenced capacity inventory survey used by New Prospect Baptist Church, available from

John McKnight (one of the founders of ABCD) is interviewed in Faith and Leadership about the church’s role in ABCD at

Caritas Australia (a Catholic an international aid and development agency) outlines their strengths-based approach to community development and provide an example from Cambodia.

There is a book for sale called Appreciating Church ( which looks like it has some good material.

I provide an introduction to asset-based community development and list over 100 resources on ABCD.

Please add any other resources you know of in the comments.

NOTE: Just in case anybody misinterprets my position—I’m an atheist and have quite a few concerns about the values and teachings of some churches. At the same time I also have a great deal of respect and admiration for the work and teaching of other churches and individual Christians, and believe they have a great deal to offer community wellbeing.

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. What is asset-based community-driven development (ABCD)?
  2. What is the Strengths Perspective?
  3. Seven principles for a strengths-based approach to working with groups
  4. Strengths-based practice: more than being positive
  5. A reading list on ABCD (over 100 resources)
  6. 10 things I’ve learnt about strengths-based community engagement

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
This entry was posted in Strengths-based approaches & ABCD, Working with communities and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Resources for churches on asset-based community development (ABCD)

  1. Roland Lubett says:

    Another valuable resource from the churches – Called to Transformation is a whole set of materials and activities put out by the US Episcopal Church, on exactly this theme.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Roland suggested Umoja (which means ‘togetherness’ in the Swahili language of East Africa), a “church-based ABCD approach now used in many countries.” More details at


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