I remember being raised in the inner-city. Like so many others, life was difficult for families, intact or not. Perhaps urban life can best be described by Stevie Wonder in 1973, in his song, Living for the City . While the song describes some of the realities that were part of our past, for many it is their present. These pangs are magnified when one considers that currently, many of our inner-city homes are headed by a single parent.
Add to these negative pathologies the decline of public education, and you can hear the perfect storm brewing for the existing and next generation of urban kids. Some teachers will spend more time disciplining children than teaching. Other instructors will become disheartened and transition out to suburban schools. A shortage of teaching materials is also not uncommon for these teachers. This only heightens their frustrations as some teachers pay for some of their educational materials out of their pockets. There is no way this kind of scholastic environment will foster positive learning. Nor will it equip these students for college or vocational schools.
This leads to another problem—jobs. I am not just talking about survival jobs; these young people will need vocations that will open the doors to a future. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. So, some of these kids will look to other professions: selling drugs, getting involved in gangs, or a life of crime. They will become another type of expense on the working public. Even so, this is not the whole story of city life. Flowers always bloom in the desert.
Holistic Urban Ministry
There are families fighting against a detreating environment. They are the oasis amid a thirsty land. Among those blossoming plants and weeds is the body of Christ. God has always had His people in the most unorthodox places. Striving and struggling in every situation, the church is still an outpost. And that is where Crossroads Bible College comes into play. Walking alongside the body of Christ, with each passing semester, the college is training a generation of leaders about holistic urban ministry. We are sending students into the inner-city while we are calling students out of urban environments to train them to minister in the city for Christ.
What is holistic urban ministry? Its Crossroads Bible College’s way of bringing Christ to the city. Through holistic urban ministry, the college reminds us of the multiplicity of ways in which we are broken. The college reminds us as individuals, prior to coming into a saving relationship with Christ, that we are separated from God. We are separated from ourselves. We are separated from other people. And finally, we are separated from the creation. If there is to be healing in our cities, we must bring people back into a relationship with Christ in all these areas. This is exactly what the course Introduction to Holistic Urban Ministry does for CBC students.
Introduction to Holistic Urban Ministry requires each student to become intimately aware of the dynamics of urban life and then to determine how to apply biblical solutions to it. We teach students to leave no stone unturned as they apply a holistic gospel to urban life. In this course, learners develop the skills to exegete their communities to determine the assets (that have a positive impact) and liabilities that negatively shape the community.
After exegeting their communities, students are encouraged to think of ways in which their churches and nonprofit Christian organizations can get involved with other believers in the city to make Christ more visible. Christians are also encouraged to not ignore the benefits that for profit and non-Christian establishments can play in being a part of healthy neighborhoods.
City Life from a Biblical Perspective
Introduction to Holistic Urban Ministry seeks to create leaders from within and outside inner-city communities. Another vital part of a holistic ministry is its efforts to unify the body of Christ in being part of the solutions in society. It is critical that an unbelieving world sees that Christ, working through His people, is truly the answer. Inner-city life on a good day is chaotic, and therefore, people must see that Christ works in their homes, their schools, their vocations, and their neighborhoods. Holistic city ministry is Crossroads Bible College’s attempt to develop a biblical perspective in its students; it’s a way of bringing God’s lived out perspective to metropolitan life. So, if you want to develop deeper insights into urban life, join Crossroads Bible College for one of its classes related to urban ministry. Come and be part of the solution as we bring a biblical perspective to the inner-city.