The Word Became Flesh

Relocation, Reconciliation, Redistribution

John Perkins’ Ministry Philosophy of 3 R’s


Excerpted from New Song Urban Ministries []



Relocation: Living Among the Poor


Living the gospel means desiring for your neighbor and your neighbor’s family that which you desire for yourself and your family. Living the gospel means bettering the quality of other people’s lives spiritually, physically, socially, and emotionally as you better your own. Living the gospel means sharing in the suffering and pain of others.

How did Jesus love? “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus relocated. He became one of us. He didn’t commute back and forth to heaven. Similarly, the most effective messenger of the gospel to the poor will also live among the poor that God has called him to.


By relocating, we will understand most clearly the real problems facing the poor; then we may begin to look for real solutions. For example, if our children are a part of that community, you can be sure we will do whatever we can to make sure that the children of our community get a good education. Relocation transforms “you, them, and theirs” to “we, us, and ours.” Effective ministries plant and build communities of believers that have a personal stake in the development of their neighborhoods.



Reconciliation: People to God, Neighbor to Neighbor


Reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel. Jesus said that the essence of Christianity could be summed up in two inseparable commandments: Love God, and love thy neighbor. First, Christian Community Development is concerned with reconciling people to God and bringing them into a church fellowship where they can be discipled in their faith.


But can a gospel that reconciles people to God without reconciling people to people be the true gospel of Jesus Christ? Our love for Christ should break down every racial, ethnic or economic barrier. As Christians come together to solve the problems of their community, the great challenge will be to partner and witness together across these barriers. Christian Community Development recognizes that the task of loving the poor is shared by the entire body of Christ, black, white, brown, and yellow, rich and poor, urban and suburban.



Redistribution: Empowering the Poor


When the body of Christ is visibly present and living among the poor (relocation), and when we are loving our neighbor and our neighbor’s family the way we love ourselves and our own family (reconciliation) the result is redistribution. If we as God’s people with resources are living in the poor community and are a part of it, our skills and our resources will be applied to the problems of that community. Bringing our lives, our skills, our educations, and our resources and putting them to work to empower people in a community of need is redistribution. Christian Community Development ministries find creative avenues to create jobs, schools, health centers, home ownership, and other enterprises of long-term development.