2023 FBDI Summit: The Evolution of a Movement

Insights from the Faith-Based Development Summit

On Nov 9, we held our 2023 FBDI Summit – Faith-Based Community Development: The Evolution of a Movement. We had nearly 800 people register for the event from around the country to consider how this national movement has continued to grow and evolve, particularly in response to the pandemic.

Thanks to FBDI Sustaining Sponsor Wells Fargo and Presenting Sponsor Capital One for their support!

November 27, 2023
Impact Areas
  • Faith-Based Development

Opening Session

Welcome to the Summit!

Rev. David Bowers kicks off the 2023 FBDI summit and introduces a demonstration of Enterprise’s Faith-Based Development Guide, a free, online resource platform for houses of worship.

There is a need in the land. There are people living in great distress. But there is also good news, my friends. Houses of worship own a tremendous amount of land in communities across the country, and there is opportunity, literally, in the land.

Rev. David Bowers, VP & Sr. Advisor for FBDI, Enterprise
Man standing in front of a building
There’s opportunity in the land
Man wearing glasses stands with arms crossed
Be intentional about development

Fireside Chat

A Denominational Perspective

Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard and Derric Scott, who chairs the denomination's faith-based development initiative, discuss their vision, progress, and lessons learned.

[Houses of worship] need to understand what development really entails, not just from a financial perspective. There are other costs: time, risk, and even a cost to moving a little too fast. There must be intentionality behind your development.

Derric Scott, Chairman, COGIC Faith Based Development Initiative


New Realities, New Responses

The pandemic created new realities for houses of worship. This panel discusses how houses of worship adapted their properties to address housing and other community needs.

Don’t talk about all the other things you could do if you don’t know how to use it. Work with the community to design and reimagine something. Then you know what you’re building and putting tons of money, effort, and time into is something that works.

Cherie Ong, Founder and Principal, Good Places
Woman smiles and stands with arms crossed
Figure out what works
Man seated with hands on top of each other at a table
Serve the community you’re in


Meeting Community Needs

Community development can take many forms, from homeownership to retail, office space to day care. This panel explores how houses of worship are meeting community needs.

You got to make that real estate work for that church to do what it was positioned to do in your community. As a pastor, I’ve always told my churches, ‘I'm not called by God to serve a church. I'm called by God to serve the community in which the Church resides.’

Rev. Dr. Joaquin Willis, President and CEO, Collective Empowerment Group of South Florida


New Public and Private Investments

Financial support, technical assistance, and training help houses of worship navigate the development process. This panel discusses public and private approaches to supporting faith-based development.

If we really want to increase mobility and close the racial wealth gap, if every cent we’re investing in faith institutions or other community institutions is not circulating in the communities we’re trying to have the greatest impact on, we’re failing. That’s an opportunity for all of us.

Tonia Wellons, President and CEO, Greater Washington Community Foundation
Woman stands with arms crossed
Invest in economic and racial equity
Man stands and smiles in front of a wooden door with a wrought iron pattern
Create something restorative

Closing Remarks

A Conversation with Mark Elsdon

Mark Elsdon discusses his collection of essays, Gone for Good: Navigating the Coming Wave of Church Property Transition with Rev. David Bowers, who is also a contributor to the book.

We don't want to rush past real grief as we say goodbye to some of these beloved places or the way they used to be. But it's also a remarkable opportunity. Let it be reborn in the faith tradition of resurrection into something new and beautiful, life-giving and restorative.

Mark Elsdon, Social Entrepreneur and Author


Read the full agenda and speakers.

Thank You

FBDI Sustaining Sponsor:
Wells Fargo Logo
Presenting Sponsor:
Capital One logo