Transformation through Christian Community Development

by Jimmy M. Dorrell

189 pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781481313506
  • Published: September 2020


  • Hardcover
  • 9781481315135
  • Published: November 2020



Today the chasm between rich and poor is constantly widening. While the wealthy seem to acquire more and more, the impoverished struggle to survive and thrive. This problem pervades not only the secular world but also modern Christianity. The Western church continues to spend more of its resources on its own needs than on those whom God calls us to see and to serve. Perhaps worse, the wealthiest church in history has often become complicit with systemic structures that perpetuate poverty in their own cities. Author and pastor Jimmy Dorrell explains that Scripture demands a drastically different attitude and approach from the wealthy regarding the poor.

In Commonwealth: Transformation through Christian Community Development, Dorrell not only explores the cultural entrapment of the modern church regarding wealth and relationships, but offers practical ways that Christians can serve and empower the poor and marginalized in their own communities. Drawing on experiences from twenty-eight years at Mission Waco | Mission World and Church Under the Bridge, and undergirded by a thorough and holistic engagement with Scripture, Christian history, and effective models, Dorrell’s team has restored one of the most underserved neighborhoods in his community with programs for the unemployed, the homeless, the sick, the addicted and struggling children and teens. They even created a non-profit grocery store in the food desert, transformed a pornographic theater, and built an economic center in a former liquor store.

Christian community development rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ is how we become neighbors in the biblical sense. Beyond handouts and increased donations, it is only when the poor and marginalized of our communities are empowered that the whole city truly prospers. There is a commonwealth of resources and gifts in all classes, and, if we choose to work together, we can change unjust structures of privilege and favoritism. Dorrell challenges us to see that it is only when we understand how financial prosperity often deepens hardheartedness toward Christ and our neighbors that the Christian church can make the good news of Jesus Christ tangible in our communities and world.