I've very excited to see what Uniting Communities are doing in relation to community development, and their emerging work around communities of practice. Apart from the fact that I've been reading about communities of practice for my research of late, I have an interest in community development as mission that goes back to the mid-1990's when I worked on The Queen's Trust Project for students-at-risk. Chris Hawke introduced me to "With Head, Heart and Hand" by Anthony Kelly and Sandra Sewell. Then the work of the Search Institute on "Healthy Communities, Healthy Youth" gave me some frameworks for working on this, which proved useful when I was living in Horsham and linked to some church and community youth projects there.(The Search 'assets' are different from the ABCD process, although they share some underlying principles in terms of community engagement.)
In my early days at College we partnered with the Mission Resourcing Network, and Rob Stoner and I designed and facilitated a 12-month peer learning experience for ministers called "Mustard Seeds", based on mission as community development. This was a mixed success, but very worthwhile overall I think. And we uncovered some great resources (including the Canadian Community Development Handbook - free PDF here, plus The Partnerships Handbook here, plus the Facilitator's Guide here) and tried to create a helpful peer learning process.
In my research I've connected with some congregations and proejcts that see community development as local mission - that is, seeking the well-being of the local community as part of "your will be done on earth as in heaven". This is church seeking to serve in a way that builds relationships within the local community and seeks to help the local community develop its strengths and capacities and find its voice. This has been exciting and inspiring, and has fuelled my interest in how mission is (re)shaping discipleship.
I have struggled to see how to apply this in the congregation that I attend, partly because it is not my 'local' community, and guess the other part has been busy-ness. but I remain strongly committed to exploring this and empowering others to do so. Looking forward to connecting with this Adelaide initiative and seeing where it leads me.
BTW check out the Australian Bank of Ideas resources page.