This past Sunday, a group of 5 teens and 6 adults from Grace Church headed down the Turnpike to minister in Philadelphia at a place called Urban Hope. Grace Church has partnered, significantly, with Urban Hope and its parent ministry, CE National for many years and many in our church have had their first major exposure to cross-cultural relationships and ministry there.
Our group arrived in time to enjoy lunch with the Urban Hope Community Church, then were prepped for their ministry involvement in Kingdom Kids, a church service for kids in the surrounding neighborhoods. They walked around the neighborhoods with UH staff to children to the program, enjoyed the program with them, then walked them home.
Team members are often suprised by the way neighborhood kids beg their parents to go to UH, the sound of 100 children worshiping Jesus together, and the level of heartbreak children seem to exhibit when the service is over! These suprises also lead to significant impact, as team members consider some of the challenging realities for children in these tough neighborhoods, including violence, drugs, and other crime. Yes, just down the road, there is an entirely different world, that needs Jesus as much as our neighbors here and all over the globe!
Have you considered what God might teach you on a short-term experience? In a cross-cultural context? If a day-trip to Philadelphia sounds like your “next step” then mark your calendar for December 15 when we will send our next team. We are also looking into weekend and week-long experiences at Urban Hope in 2014. Stay tuned!