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Economics and Community Development department at the college of the Presbyterian Church in America in Lookout Mountain, Georgia

Economics and Community Development

The Department of Economics and Community Development examines humanity's stewardship of the resources of God's creation. The department believes that the manner in which humans cultivate and develop the creation emanates from their basic worldview commitments. However, human stewardship is not autonomous but takes place within God's sovereign plan as expressed through His unfolding story of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. This framework shapes the manner in which the department analyzes and critiques the ways in which individuals, communities, and nations have responded to their stewardship responsibilities.


The department offers a major and a minor in economics, both of which lay a strong theoretical and analytical foundation for understanding the manner in which resources are allocated in the local, national, and global economy. Students pursuing the economics major or minor are well prepared for graduate study in a range of disciplines and for careers in government, international agencies, non-government organizations, and the corporate sector.


The department also offers a major and a minor in community development, both of which prepare students to understand and address the issues facing poor regions, paying particular attention to working at the community level. Recognizing the multifaceted and integrated nature of both God's creational design and the problems plaguing poor communities, the department takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines training in the liberal arts, in development theory and practice, and in sector-specific development strategies. In addition to laying a biblical foundation for thinking about poor communities, students are equipped to support positive change in cross-cultural settings both domestically and internationally. Students pursuing these programs are well prepared for graduate study or for employment in community-based organizations, churches, missions, relief and development agencies, and the public sector.


"Dr. Fikkert taught me that I wasn’t the solution; God was. That was something that I desperately needed to hear."
- Jesudhas Arnold ’19 | economics major


The Chalmers Center for Economic Development

The Chalmers Center is a research and educational institute which trains workers in church-centered ministries to promote economic development and spiritual transformation in the context of poor communities. In collaboration with partnering agencies and churches worldwide, the Center initiates pilot projects that serve as laboratories for the development of new models that can be replicated by others. Students in the community development major may apply for domestic and international research internships in these projects, providing them with a unique opportunity to participate in the development of state-of-the-art strategies and to gain practical experience.


Programs, Courses, and Requirements



When Helping Hurts

Since Covenant professors Dr. Brian Fikkert and Dr. Steve Corbett released "When Helping Hurts" in 2009, they have sold over 430,000 copies and have heard countless success stories of churches and ministries transforming their approach to poverty alleviation.

Steve Corbett

Professor Corbett describes the complex field of community development, and discusses Covenant’s community development major.