Houston’s Third Ward has a rich spiritual history. For many decades there have been faithful saints ministering the grace of the Gospel of Jesus. In the summer of 1998 a young woman came to serve in Houston’s Third Ward in between semesters of college. Though not unfamiliar with poverty and missions, she was captivated by the ministry of God’s people who lived as neighbors in the community, not just 9-to-5 employees. For a summer, her life became intertwined with the life of Third Ward- its children, its youth, its single mothers, its faithful grandmothers. She met pastors and elders in a local church that modeled the Gospel in a way that touched her heart.
That summer of walking through the joys and pains with her neighbors would forever change the lives of Amanda Van Zandt Craig, her future husband Kirk Craig, and their four children. God graciously provided partnership with David and Melissa Hill who had been faithfully serving as urban missionaries long before the Craig’s arrived. David and Melissa, along with their children, lived in the community and modeled the type of ministry Amanda had seen that first summer. With the capable guidance of a local board of directors, and the loving partnership of these families, God began to grow the Agape Community.
Agape is the Greek word for love in its truest form—a love that is authentic, intentional and long-lasting. At Agape Development we apply this agape approach to community development in the Third Ward. At Agape Development we prepare our neighbors to become Christ-following, independent, community leaders. Together, we will transform our neighborhood and provide a model for authentic community development in Houston. While our programs have developed and grown over the years from a primarily young adult ministry to one that reaches people throughout the life span, our mission has remained the same. We are addressing the specific brokenness of this community with our Agape Development approach. Transforming our neighborhood by preparing Christ-following, independent, community leaders.