Noel has worked in full-time ministry in Latino, urban communities since 1982. He has served in youth ministry, church planting, advocacy and community development in San Francisco, San Jose, and Chicago.
After serving on the Board of the Christian Community Development Association for many years, he established the CCDA Institute, which equips emerging church leaders in the philosophy of Christian Community Development, and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of CCDA.
Noel was appointed to serve on President Obama’s Council for Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships, and is a speaker, motivator, and mentor to young leaders throughout the USA, and has a deep passion to serve and invest in the lives of leaders committed to serving the poor.
Noel is the co-author of A Heart for the Community, New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry, and has contributed to various other books and publications, including Deep Justice in a Broken World, A Heart for the City, and Crazy Enough to Care.
Noel and his wife of 27 years, Marianne make their home in the barrio of La Villita in Chicago, and have three grown children; Noel Luis, Stefan, and Anna.
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How can Westerners avoid the ‘Savior’ complex?
“The idea that the poor are spiritually bankrupt is something we have to combat,” explains Noel Castellanos, Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA). Being a Christian does not mean your life will be materially blessed. Likewise, lack of wealth does not mean lack of faith. “When you’re familia; you take care of each other, you love each other, you challenge each other. . . if one part of the body suffers we all suffer.”
What is the Christian Community Development Association?
Noel Castellanos Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), started this association with the goal of “living among the poor, embracing the people of the community, and working with the people of the neighborhood to bring about holistic transformation that includes a heart turned to God.” There are times when we must not only bring the living bread of the gospel to others, but actual bread as well.
What keeps Western churches from caring for the poor?
As Noel Castellanos, Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), explains, “one of the barriers is redefining the difference between the American dream and what the Kingdom dream or vision is.” As Americans, we must refocus on seeking God and His Kingdom. Are we searching after God, or merely searching for our own comforts?