Linking People and Places
with the Restoring Mission of Jesus

Link's Mission

Link is a network of friends and organizations who focus and strategize together for neighborhood flourishing through Christian community development.

Link's Vision

Based out of the Walnut Neighborhood of Waterloo, Iowa, Christ will grow a reconciling community of hope and empowerment through a focus on neighborhood strengthening strategies, youth development, and jobs in order that all involved might flourish.

Link has 7 fundamentals and 5 core values that guide our network.

Mission Fundamentals:

1. SPIRIT OF GOD

Link is built on listening and discerning the movement of God’s Spirit.  We believe that it is through the Spirit's leadership, grace, and power, that we will accomplish the calling God has for Link.

2. RECONCILIATION

Link intentionally works to break down barriers that divide us, to nurture relationships that bring Christ’s healing to our community, and to affirm the different ways we all reflect the image of God.

3. COMMUNITY

Organizations are made of people, and Link is organized by the relationships that develop as God binds person by person together in community. We value the friendships, the gifts, the encouragement, the honesty, the reciprocity, the accountability, and the growth that is present in authentic community. We believe that relationships are the foundational currency of Link.

4. PARTNERSHIP

The gifts needed are many and the issues to be addressed are great in our community. It will take a collective effort and a broad spectrum of partners working together for transformation. Link’s very existence came about in 2013 through the partnership of Harvest Vineyard Church, Orchard Hill Church, and the support of the Walnut Neighborhood Association.

5. MISSION OF COMPASSION AND JUSTICE

We trust God’s heart for people who suffer. We believe that God calls us to hands-on compassion and to join with people in their struggle   We believe we are called to cooperate with Christ to right systemic wrongs from our past and work toward a just and equitable community.

6. WHOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT

Link addresses the needs of the whole person-spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual. Believing that Christ came to redeem systems and places, as well as individuals, we pray that through faith and relationships, God will direct wholistic transformation in the community.

7. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Youth empowerment is a central component of Link.  Young people have a lot to offer our community. Link believes in mentoring and encouraging youth as they grow to live faith-filled lives of service, caring, and leadership both now and in the future.

Our Values

1. LISTENING & LEARNING

Link values listening and learning from the community and seeking to better understand others and ourselves. Due to years of systemic injustices, there is as much to unlearn as to learn. Link desires to bring people together in such a way that affirms every person’s dignity.

2. ASSET-BASED APPROACH

Link practices asset-based community development, or ABCD. First we ask, “What do we have? What beauty and gifts already exist?” rather than “What’s missing, what’s wrong?”

3. GOOD NEIGHBORING

Having good neighbors begins with being a good neighbor. Link discovered that many issues facing our community today would be drastically reduced if we became good neighbors. Link Christian Development works to reawaken the art of good neighboring.

4. SERVING

Link desires to follow Christ into service with God’s compassion for all people. In humility and with servants’ hearts, we can offer our presence and gifts to one another.

5. MUTUALITY

We value interdependency. We believe that every person and every partner has gifts and resources to offer as well as needs to be addressed. Together we offer what we have, and we help one another grow toward our God-given potential.

The History of Link CCD

In 2007, God began to cultivate some friendships and direct these friends together toward a philosophy of ministry called Christian Community Development.

A church partnership between Harvest Vineyard Church, Waterloo, and Orchard Hill Church, Cedar Falls, grew from those friendships, and together, a network formed that would focus and strategize for development with the community surrounding Harvest Vineyard, primarily the Walnut Neighborhood of Waterloo, Iowa. Link leadership continues to be trained, inspired, and connected through the wider network of the Christian Community Development Association.

Link Christian Community Development is a 501c3 birthed in 2013 from that church partnership and the support of the Walnut Neighborhood Association (WNA). The network has since grown into many dynamic partnerships that are focusing and strategizing together for the flourishing of all involved.

Partners are based out of the Walnut Neighborhood, but not bound by it. For example, Try Pie and Youth Art Team originally birthed out of work done through Link and the neighborhood, but these initiatives have now grown into their own partner organizations that serve and partner across the broader Cedar Valley.

Christian Community Development

Christian Community Development, or CCD, is a philosophy of ministry with a Biblical base of the following 8 key components: relocation (or incarnational presence), reconciliation, redistribution, church-based, listening to the community, indigenous leadership, empowerment, and wholistic development.

Christian Community Development Association, or CCDA, has been an invaluable national vehicle of training, connection, and inspiration for Link and its CCD approach to neighborhood revitalization and development.

Link CCD will continue to listen, learn, and network through CCDA and will engage in CCDA’s mission to inspire, train, and connect persons who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God as they work together toward the restoration of community. In January 2019, Link CCD was involved in the creation of a regional CCDA network called Eastern Iowa CCDA in order to train, inspire, and connect Eastern Iowans in this work.