Our Story

Amanda Van Zandt Craig & Kirk Craig

David and Melissa Hill

Houston’s Greater 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 Greater 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 the inner city- 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.  With the capable guidance of a local board of directors and the loving partnership of these families, God began to grow the Agape Community in the OST/South Union neighborhood and in 2005 Agape Development was founded.  God graciously provided the partnership with David and Melissa Hill who joined the staff in 2007 and went full time in 2008.  David and Melissa, along with their children, had been faithfully serving as urban missionaries long before the Craig’s arrived.  The Hill family lived in the community and modeled the type of ministry Amanda had seen that first summer.

Though the ministry's first programs served only young adults, God opened the way for other programs to reach our neighbors. The original staff and neighbors of Sean, Emily, Jenny, Anne, Jessie, Derrick, Nikki, Renae, Ava, Terry, and David have been followed by so many others who have joined in the gospel work together.  Starting with children's ministry, Agape Development began adding program offerings to encompass teens, young adult transitional housing, community gardens, adult employment and discipleship, community celebrations and clean-ups as well.

In the most recent years, Agape Development added Social Enterprise and Housing offerings to community transformation efforts. The businesses provide meaningful employment and discipleship to residents of 77021 while sustaining their operations through earned income. Lawn care, fencing, siding, roofing, and remodeling services have been among the skills that residents learn along with family leadership and financial management. In an effort to retain leadership, Agape Homes has designed and will build single family houses for sale at an affordable price for neighbors. This represents lasting leadership pipelines in our community. Agape Development is grateful for the church's historic foundations in the community and proud of our own history. However, we are even more excited about the future in this neighborhood.

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Core Values

Jesus Christ

from whom we receive power and direction from


to the community first as
primary stakeholders of
their own restoration


for individuals regardless
of circumstances


the community for
sustainability rather than

Faith Statement

We believe in one God, the Father

The Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ

The only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through Him, all things were made.  For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.  For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day, He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit

The Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.  We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.


*Agape Development is a Christian Organization. For the sake of unity, we chose the Nicene Creed as our statement of faith because it is the fullest and oldest explanation of the Christian faith and the most widely accepted by orthodox Christians.

**We provide services without discriminating on the basis of religion, gender, race, nationality, or orientation.

Mission Statement

At Agape Development. we are transforming our neighborhood by preparing Christ-following, independent, community leaders.

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