Thursday, January 10, 2008


This year Central Dallas Ministries (CDM) celebrates 2o years of service, community building and advocacy in the inner city neighborhoods of Dallas. It likely will be an exciting year.

Turning the page on two decades--14 years of which I have observed up close and personal--has me thinking about the nature of our mission as an organization.

Our official mission statement reads:

"The mission of Central Dallas Ministries is to share the love of God in word, action and attitude while building genuine community in the neighborhoods where we live and work."

Our logo attempts to communicate our strategy graphically.

We believe the primary institutions necessary for community creation/renewal and sustainability are homes, schools and churches. We work on a daily basis with the people who populate these important institutions to see them grow stronger, healthier and more effective. When you look at our logo, you will see these institutions represented clearly in the forefront.

We also know that neighborhood folks must connect with one another and with the "background" institutions that make a city work--business, markets, higher education, health care, government, employment. You'll see those institutions depicted in the background of the CDM logo.

Our logo attempts to tell the story of our values, our focus and our daily work.

But, what do we really do day-after-day?

In thinking about it, here's what I believe is true about what we actually do.

At CDM we EMBRACE. We stop and we try to pay attention to what people are saying about themselves, their lives, their pain, their fears and their hopes and dreams. We welcome folks and we love them where we find them and where they find us. Stopping and welcoming leads to lots of hugging and acceptance!

At CDM we GATHER. We learn the value of taking seat for deeper conversations, for the nurturing of relationships and friendships. As we sit together, as we visit, we come to know what is possible and how we can get on with life in Dallas together. In our gatherings we share resources, provide training for lots of people and we receive wonderful benefits from the community around us--both the poor and the rich.

At CDM we CHALLENGE. We often reach a point where we stand up, almost always with the partners we've made while visiting. We take a stand together to challenge unfair systems, to undo things that are put together in a way that benefits the few at the expense of the many. We also have learned to challenge one another to simply be better, do better and realize the higher good.

Our values inform our mission.

We embrace.

We gather.

We challenge.

As we persist, community forms, lives change and the city grows stronger in terms of the health, well-being and hope it extends to every resident.
This is our work.


Mikey said...

Hard to believe it's been 20 years! I know that time continues to fly ever faster for me, but sometimes I forgot that it does for the rest of the world too!

This past Sunday, we had a guest speaker at our church in Southlake: Patrick Mead from Michigan came back to speak to us about identity and mission. It was an outstanding message of truth and conviction - and that made me think immediately of CDM.

One of his key points regarding mission begins with a question: If somehow tomorrow you were to disappear from the face of the earth, who would miss you? What would be different? Is God's work really being done in/through you?

As you know, Larry, our church has been dealing with these concepts more heavily in the last 18 months or so... and I rejoice that our rudder has turned the ship toward the direction God wants us to go - both as individuals and as a church.

But as I heard his message, I started to think about CDM. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that I don't know of a group that is more sure of its identity and more devoted to its mission than you guys are.

May you continue to be a blessing to the community and the kingdom. May God continue to shower blessings on you and on the people you serve. And may you never lose sight of why you do what you do!

Stefano Elliott Band

belinda said...

Larry, will you be endorsing anyone for President?

Larry James said...

Thanks, Mikey! I appreciate you and your church a great deal.

belinda, as to endorsements, I won't be into that on this site. But, I'd enjoy knowing who you support!

belinda said...

John Edwards is my candidate. What he wants and how he intends to accomplish it make sense to me. That being said, should he not get the democratic nomination, Obama is my second choice. I think this country needs lots of help. Unfortunately, I think Hilliary Clinton is lacking in too many areas. I am of the opinion that a "bad" democrat beats a "good" republican any day of the week though. hahaha