I recently went on a trip to Seattle in which we visited many different organizations and ministries within the city. We learned about how the church functions in an urban area. Here are my thoughts:
John Wesley once said, “ Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, At all the times you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.” This quote has become my quote in many ways. It express’s exactly how my heart feels after coming back from
I was able to get a glimpse of what
I love grocery shopping in
World Relief was a heart-stirring organization. I always hear about refugees coming into the country, and I have always been curious about where they go once they get here. I have never really thought about everything they have to go through once they get into this country. Being at World Relief and hearing about everything they have to do for these people blew my mind. These families basically get off of the airplane in the
People who live in the city have the ability to become extremely creative with their ministries and how they minister to people. The city is full of so many different kinds of people and it’s hard to find one ministry that reaches all of them. We came upon a fitness center. It is a very affordable fitness center in a part of town where the less privileged people live. It was one need that people had. They couldn’t find affordable health and fitness centers. I thought this was a fabulous and creative way to minister to people of all cultures and backgrounds. They had a women’s night where they would cover all the windows so that women of the Muslim faith could come and work out without worrying about a man seeing them. Isn’t that cool? Women of all faiths are able to come together, and their not talking about Jesus or trying to convert each other. They are building relationships, and just being a friend is so much more meaningful. Every place we visited it kept giving me more and more ideas of what I might be able to do once I finish college. I believe urban ministry is where I am called to work. Urban ministry is always full of excitement. You never know what to expect. Some ministries are a success and some aren’t. Some ministries have large numbers and some don’t. In urban ministry you have to live totally by faith, and you can’t let your own ambitions get in the way of the spirit’s leading. No ministry can do it all on its own. You have to learn to work together and lean heavily on God’s shoulder. That is why networking is so important. Networking is a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest, and that common interest is to provide for and protect all of humanity.
“Attention students of
Northwest Harvest is a food bank, and one of my favorite places. I loved being able to pass out food for these people and engaging in conversations with them. This one little Asian man made me an origami swan for helping him and that was another touching moment. If you haven’t noticed, I am a very emotional person so I tend to have lots of “touching moments”. Every ministry we visited has emphasized the fact that building relationships is key. My favorite part of ministry is building relationships! I fit in real well with their philosophy. St. Marks was one of the most restful parts of the trip. We sat in that church while a group of men sang songs, chanted, and repeated verses. It was a thirty minute service, but beautiful. Their voices echoed throughout the building. It brought the verse, “be still and know that I am God” to mind. It was a Sunday night, the last night before everyone’s busy weeks started, and it was a great way to end your weekend. It was a great time for reflection, and a time to just be still before the Lord. I can understand why this service would be so popular. There were people of all ages, ethnicities, and faiths present. I benefited greatly from it.
I began to think of my home town, and I realized that I don’t ever remember seeing any homeless people around. There are about 70,000 people in my town, and I thought it was kind of strange that I don’t remember seeing many homeless people around. I know that our church serves meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the homeless. I have recently learned that our town has a great amount of homeless people including homeless youth. I had no idea! Apparently there is a teacher at the high school that helps homeless youth. After gaining this knowledge of the homeless and poor, and hearing about the homeless in my town, I want to go back home and speak in my church. I want to make my church aware of the problem at hand, and have them realize that there are things they can be doing to help. I want to share my passion and desire to help with my home church. We will just wait and see what God has in store. One thing that really moved me was, after we returned from
I not only came away from this experience with a better understanding of how ministry in the city works, but I was also greatly blessed by the people in my class. It is amazing how one person who shares your passions can make you feel like you two working together can change the world. I have lots of friends who support me in my major and career path, but it’s totally different when someone shares the same exact passion and vision as you do. It’s great to have a support group, someone you can lean on, and who understands. I want to end with a prayer. It is one that I pray often, and it fits in well with what I hope to retain from this experience.
Lord make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, Let me sow love. Where there is offense, Pardon. Where there is doubt, Faith. Where there is discord, Unity. Where there is error, Truth. Where there is despair, Hope. Where there is sadness, Joy. Where there is darkness, Light.
O Divine master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand, To be loved as to love. For: It is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.