The Importance of Equipping – Ephesians 4:11-16

Ephesians 4 has so many valuable points to make about the focus of ministry within the church. Here are the verses,

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” – Eph 4:11-16

First we see that ministry starts with Christ and it ends with Christ. He is the one who gave different people different responsibilities within His body. Without a doubt, that is an act done out of sheer grace. Then Paul tells us what the purpose of those rolls are – to prepare God’s people for works of service resulting in the building up of the church. Ultimately this results in unity, knowledge, and maturity.

So ministers aren’t the ones who are supposed to run around and “do church” for everyone else. Ministers should be in the business of preparing the church to be about the mission God gave the church to fulfill. That is called equipping. The church is at its best when the whole body of believers are joined together, united in Christ, supporting one another, and growing as each part does its work. That is a beautiful picture of a body in motion, not a single part out of sync with the rest…all working toward the same goal under the leadership of the head, Jesus Christ.

It is when ministers think they have been prepared by Christ to do all the works of service, leaving the rest of the body to be a spectator, that the congregation begins to break down…faith, knowledge, and maturity are all found lacking in those situations because bodies are made to move, not sit. Bodies aren’t made for a few select members to get the body functioning to its fullest. Bodies are made to be used. When they are used, they grow.

Ministers should never buy into the lie that it is all up to them…if it is going to get done, they are the one who has to do it. Remember, it is Christ who expects all his people to reach unity in the faith, knowledge and ultimately through maturity. Some ministers have such high standards for the quality of work they desire to be done that they would rather not let anyone else touch it or it might not get done as well…this too retards spiritual growth and results in weak and immature Christians. Some times you just have to be willing to let people have enough space to mature, even if it means a few mistakes along the way. It is amazing what people can do once they have “permission.”


John 9 – Mud in the Eyes Christians

After reading and re-reading the story of the man born blind in John 9 today I am struck by the power and authority of Jesus combined with the blind man’s willing obedience. Our faith is a partnership of unequals. We can’t even take credit for listening and doing because without his command we wouldn’t have a clue what to do. He alone heals and restores. And yet he expects us to listen and to do. Otherwise we just stand there blind with mud in our eyes wondering why we still can’t see.

I wonder how many “mud in the eyes Christians” there are in the world. They believe they have heard the Word of God and are saved but their unwillingness to wash the mud from their eyes so they might really begin to see has kept them in spiritual darkness. It is an incredibly tragedy when God has done 100% of what needs to be done to help us see and yet we are unwilling to trust him enough to follow through and do what he has asked. I know this gets into the murky waters of the sufficiency of grace and all the rest (not really if you are tracking with me here and are familiar with past posts like this one). But my point is, without action on our part, we stand there blind with mud in our eyes. God certainly has more in mind for us than that. You notice Jesus didn’t say, “Sit here while I run to Siloam, get some water and pour it on your eyes for you…don’t lift a finger! BRB!” and off he goes. I think there is a reason for that. While we don’t merit our salvation God certainly wants us to be invested in the process!

Avenues to Application

From the majority of Christian pulpits and classrooms comes the message, “We need to do more.” The lesson is taught, the sermon preached and people are left wondering, “Now what?” After all that good information, motivating words, and all the rest what am I going to do about it? There is no shortage of guilt among many Christians today as people hear over and over again that they are expected to do so much but the reality of their week doesn’t seem to naturally flow from the implications they were left with in Sunday’s message.

It is easier to talk about application than it is to do it:
It is easier for those of us who “do church work” to push application than it is for us to actually plan something. We realize that we can’t just talk about the details and have a nice and accurate interpretation of the passages we are studying and not move to the next step, application and yet the devil is in the details. Who will plan the trip, who will make the calls, who is identifying the needs, and how are the nuts and bolts coming together that applies what we have learned? We have masses of busy people who would like to do more but often lack the focus and intention of making it happen in any regular way. Yet, if the opportunity is presented to them people come out of the woodwork to make a difference.

It is a difficult road from “I want to” to “I did”:
People get caught up in the routine of life and unless the opportunity is presented to them, chances are they are not going to plan ways to apply Sunday’s lesson(s). Before we go further it is important to recognize that not all application is planned, organized and done in groups. In reality it is not really all that difficult to find a way to apply what we hear on Sunday if we have decided that is what we need to do. We also have to train people to start thinking missionally and realize that not every application of Sunday’s lesson comes in an organized way. Christians can put it into practice in dozens of ways on their own as opportunities present themselves in the home, neighborhood, workplace, etc. But the problem is, most people need a reminder…someone from the outside helping them along and providing opportunity and outlets to put into practice the things we talk about being the main priorities of the church.

One of the biggest challenges is identifying the needs:
The reality is, all most people need is to be aware of what the needs are. The trick is finding out what the needs are and communicating them in an effective way. It can be difficult sorting through all the agencies and NPO’s in your area, getting contact info, finding out what they need (if anything) that is suitable for the group you are trying to move into volunteer action, setting the dates that work for people and then doing it. By the time you get it planned, you already spent more time planning it than the actual service often entails (a point Jay brought up to me this morning). There has to be a better way where the needs and the volunteers get connected without feeling like we have to pull teeth to get it done.

In a post or two in the next couple of weeks I am going to share about an exciting way congregations and organizations in the community can connect people who want to serve with various needs in a way that doesn’t take as many nuts and bolts to get it done. More on that later.

AFA Boycott Idea

In follow up to the previous post about how I think it is a crummy idea to boycott business just because they won’t use the word, “Christmas” I have a better idea. Why doesn’t the AFA boycott businesses that use the word “Christmas” that don’t uphold Christian values. The idea behind this would be the hypocrisy of using “Merry Christmas” to make a buck off Christians when in reality they are just as pagan as all those Grinch, non-Christmas types.

It is far more scriptural to point out “believers” who stumble than to point out pagans who stumble. It is far more scriptural to correct those in the church rather than those outside the church (1 Cor 5:12). I doubt the AFA would take on this challenge and I would really rather them not boycott anyone at this point but I think it is at least worth assessing the underlying ideology behind the boycotts we have seen coming from them and wonder why not at least boycott in a way that would be consistent with scriptural ideals.

Connect. How We Put On An Invovement Night at Northwest

Two months ago our elders and ministers had a one day retreat to talk about the future and direction of the church. In that meeting several things came to light that we decided to act on that included new ministries to add/expand existing ministries and trying to get 100% involvement from our membership in service/ministry.

Following that meeting our youth minister and I got together and started an ad campaign for an Involvement event we called “Connect.” We designed and posted posters all over the building with just an image and a date (see above). Nothing more. We left this up for a short while so people would wonder what it was all about before announcing our night of involvement – Connect and what it entailed. On the Sunday prior we made a mac vs. pc commercial spoof to humorously jab people into coming to connect.

Prior to the event we talked to prospective leaders and our current deacons about what needs they saw and what man power help would improve their ministry. One problem I have seen with involvement in the past is we ask what people are interested in and then we tell a deacon or minister connected with that area that this person has an interest. Then we hope it all gets connected and we figure it will happen. Then it doesn’t. So we asked for specific job descriptions of what our needs were for people to sign up for. We put tables all over the lobby for our deacons to meet, greet, and inform people about the needs in their ministry and encourage people to sign up.

That Sunday night we had double our normal non-LIFE group Sunday night attendance. We had more there than we typically have in LIFE groups on an average Sunday night! We got more people signed up for things than we could have imagined!

Now the next step – follow up. People will receive a letter from the elders this week thanking them for signing up. Then they will receive contact from the minister/deacon/ministry leader in charge of the area they signed up for helping them get involved ASAP. We will see how it goes. Followup can kill things if it is not done correctly. Keep that in your prayers that God will allow us to use more people than ever at Northwest to carry out His purposes for us.

Moving From Contemplating the Biblical Navel to Real Application

I am guilty of writing a bunch of thoughts, opinions, and various and sundry other ways of contemplating the biblical navel and end the discussion gaining little more than having thought about something a little more or with a slight nuance. How many of you feel your life has never been the same since reading about headings in the TNIV or this post about the new song Days of Elisha?

The Bible is meant to be meditated on with the intention of drawing closer to the God who reveals himself to us in those pages and through those men who wrote down their experience of the moments in their generation when God revealed himself through His words and deeds. When you start reading the Bible with that desire application will follow. Application does not boil down to a series of “How does this make your day different tomorrow” questions. Application is the result of encountering Christ through His Word and through a daily walk with Him. When that is happening on a regular basis we will find ourselves living out our faith on a regular basis. Too many times we fool ourselves into thinking that application is just thinking about application and not really doing anything about it.

So how does this make our Bible classes and sermons different next week? Oh wait, I am not supposed to ask that question right? 🙂 Discussing the Bible has to be more than an exchange of thoughts and opinions. Bible study is the intersection of the lives of each person engaged in the discussion with the word of God with the realization that when we part ways our lives will never be the same again.

1 – We have to understand the reason we meet together. Often we default into two things: 1) fellowship mode and 2) discussing opinions with no real desire for change in our lives. Bible classes and worship gatherings must understand that we meet together to encounter Christ as a community and to engage ourselves with him in meaningful ways and that when it occurs we are changed. Ask people why they come to Bible class and see what they say. You will typically hear, “We come to learn more about God.” Good answer, but then what? So you come here to have your opinions changed and sharpened and to be more informed about God? Is that really why God wants you in Bible class? I think he wants you there to draw closer to him and part of that is studying his word but that is not the whole picture.

2 – We have to provide opportunities for growth to occur. I am not talking numbers. I am talking about discipleship and spiritual transformation. I don’t think we can make people grow spiritually…that if we use just the right formula or method or copy what the big church down the street did that we will automatically grow. But we can create environments that provide opportunities for growth. This takes a really good leader in the class who understands the objectives of the class and who continually voices and acts on those things. They model it for the class.

3 – We have to learn to disagree with grace and practice healthy conflict resolution. Let’s face it, a healthy growing class will have none Christians in it. What they see and hear from the Christian members of the class can open them or close them to the message of Christ. Often we let personalities get in the way of someone coming to know Christ. Many lost people think Christians don’t know how to get along. So let them see us disagree gracefully and end the discussion with love and respect and healthy conflict resolution.

4 – We must practice mutual submission. Why is it that the younger people are always the ones expected to give up their wants and desires but less often do you find a church willing to defer their taste in song selection, etc to the tastes of the young people? Mutual submission must be just that – mutual. It is a give and take. People need to be taught mutual submission early in their Christianity because the day will come when they will have to live it out and if they don’t have the foundation they will stumble over it.

5 – A refusal of the country club mentality. We greet Christians and non-Christians alike – with open arms and an attitude of love and acceptance.

6 – Get the momentum to shift from comfortable complacence to action. We are talking about evangelism in our men’s class. One thing we do each week is give out a name of someone who has stopped coming to church with their address and phone number and ask the men to pray for that person and write them a letter to encourage them. It is small but for someone who has never tried anything before it is a move and a shift in momentum. Now they have done something and might see a good result that will encourage them to try something bigger or bolder in the future.

What Bible class have you been a part of that you feel like made a dramatic impact on your life. Why? What was special about that class? What have you tried as a teacher that have helped others get momentum in living out what they believe?

Complacency in the Kingdom

How often do we get complacent because we think we have to do everything in a big way or not at all and so we opt for not at all? Have we forgotten that sowing seed is never a small thing even if only one plant grows from dozens of seed that were cast upon the ground that it is by definition BIG.

Change in Churches – What is Healthy?

There is a fine line we walk when we talk about change. The line is between relevance to a lost and dying world and being pleasing to the God who has made us our own. When people try to swing too hard in either direction the results are often disastrous. Those who seek to please outsiders may lose their identity and distinctiveness and the very reason why outsiders come (to find something new, different, and life changing). Those who want to get behind closed doors and study their Bible and worship God with little concern for those outside the church become and end to themselves and will fail to accomplish several of their major objectives as the people of God.

Ronald Heifetz, who I have mentioned several times before, talks about how to produce healthy and growing change in an organization. He says that all growing organizations need to experience productive tension in order for change to take place. If a group of people has zero tension they will have zero change/healthy growth. If they have too much tension people will bail out on you and will have zero change/healthy growth. You have to find the change sweetspot where people feel challenged to try to do things better without pushing them so hard that they want out.That is why one size does not fit all in ministry because not all churches can accept change at the same pace. You cannot necessarily take a ministry that has been thriving at one church and map it directly onto another church because congregations experience change and rates of change differently. You probably get those emails, “10 Ways to Guarantee Church Growth in 3 Months or Less.” Delete. Change does not work the same in all places and is not accepted as quickly everywhere.

We also have doctrinal concerns when it comes to change. We don’t want to change things that are core to the gospel. When making decisions and casting a vision for a congregation the leadership must determine which things are gospel and which things are opinion and tradition. Some lines don’t have to be drawn in the sand. It is okay to have a difference of opinion on some things. But what we cannot miss as a church is to live out the mission of Jesus Christ. If we are not doing what we are here to do and being who we are here to be then it really doesn’t matter if we cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s because we become Pharisees.

Change is important and inevitable. Change is essential to the health and growth of any group of people. I am not necessarily talking about radical changes in the way we do worship or the way we do the Lord’s Supper or anything like that. But I do think it is important to realize why we do the things we do and understand which things are non-negotiables and which things are flexible. Change also needs to be about identity and practice. We often think of change as being about what we do and how we do it. But there is another component that must be taken into consideration – who we are. Are we the people God wants us to be? Is our identity as the people of God producing the kind of impact on the world that He desires us to have? If not there are some changes in our approach and underlying assumptions that need to be made and at a rate that people will be able to tolerate without jumping ship.

Change has been a dangerous word in our churches. Many see anyone who pushes any kind of change as a “Change agent” who is to be shunned and spoken against. I think that is warranted in some extreme instances where people push for change with little regard for what God thinks about it but that doesn’t make all change bad. Isn’t repentance a change? Scripture is full of “change agents” and we owe a debt of gratitude to those who saw that there was a better way and who pushed with all their might for a better, more God-centered vision of the church/Christianity.

Ripening Issues in the Church of Christ – Pornography

Another repeated message of the college rally last weekend was that many college students are struggling with pornography addictions. In Randy Harris and Chris Seidman’s question and answer period many of the questions submitted were related to pornography. When fully grown pornography becomes an addiction that can be as powerful as crack cocaine. The behavioral reinforcements that come from the resulting neurotransmitters released upon viewing pornography largely mimic what is produced by drugs like crack.

The Danger of Addiction:

One of the best definitions of addiction I have ever heard is that non-addicts love people and use objects and addicts use people and love objects. Addiction is a distortion of reality and a reshuffling of priorities that results from feeding unhealthy patterns of behavior and the subsequent release of neurotransmitters that brings pleasure from the activity or substance. Like any other sin it is taking something God made for good, sex, and using it in a way it was not intended to be used. Sex is something to be shared in the context of marriage. When it is it is being used as it was intended good results. When it is used outside of marriage or when it is used inside of marriage in a way not intended (ie – with an image alone rather than with your spouse together) it produces deadly spiritual consequences. I believe it was James Dobson who gave the image of godly vs. ungodly sex and sexuality being like a fire in a house. When it is put in the fireplace in the living room, where it was intended to go, it brings light and warmth and goodness but when it is on the couch in the living room, it destroys the whole house. Sex inside the context of marriage is a beautiful thing but when it is abused it can be deadly.

Renewing a Healthy Sense of Sexuality:

We need to renew our sense of healthy sex and sexuality. Our young people have been surrounded by unhealthy images of what it means to be sexy and what the norms are of expressing that sexuality. Where has the voice of the church been on helping our young people get a healthy view of their sexuality? Many have been silent. Many have acted like it is yucky or a taboo subject that is “off limits.” So where do young people go for their information? They don’t have to look any further than the magazine rack at the checkout aisle or the television and movies that are readily accessible (not to mention the internet). We have to start talking about this with our young people in our homes AND churches from an early age. To keep silent is to passively allow a death sentence on our children. We have to renew in our families and churches a healthy sexuality and it needs to start with our men. We need to hear it in our Bible classes, small groups, and from the pulpit. But won’t someone get embarrassed? Of course they will but wouldn’t you rather someone get embarrassed than someone get addicted?

Shon Smith illustrated this situation being like a tourist who traveled to the Nile River. He saw all these people sunbathing on the shore and they were mangled, missing arms and legs. All of a sudden he saw how it had happened. A crocodile come out of the river and bit one of the sunbathers leaving them disfigured and mangled. But no one moved. No one seemed surprised. They just stayed right there and continued to be attacked by the crocodiles. He yelled, “Why don’t you move?!? Why do you just sit there and get devoured by the crocodiles…why doesn’t someone do something? Don’t you know this is killing you?” But they just sat there.

We need some people shouting about this. We need some people raising their voices about how devastating this can be. We need to be made aware of how prevalent this problem actually is – not over there somewhere but right there in your church, in your home, among your family and friends. And like I have said over and over again here, we need safe places to talk about these things where we can express who we really are and what we really struggle with and find accountability and love rather than judgment and wrath.

171 Urban Ministry Resources Including Links, Annotations, and Contact Information

This is a work in progress (as you can tell by the formatting). It is an attempt to catalog inner city ministries and Christian urban outreach programs across the United States. Each resource has a link, an annotation, and a contact. They are sorted by city and state and then by category. I put this together a couple of years ago as a student at HUGSR in the Urban ministry class so this is pre-Katrina (sorry John!…I will get to that eventually) and needs a lot of updating. Let me know if there is anything you would add or if any of the links get broken. This is the third of my wordpress pages I am converting to posts so that the information can be better disseminated.

Please comment with relevant links of related ministries and resources you know of.

Urban Churches and Community Outreach Programs:


Inner City Church of Christ (Branch of Mayfair Church of Christ) – of
This is a church website that provides information on their various ministries. They also have a decent list of Bible links. They lay out their scheduled topics for the preaching year and contact information.

Inner City Ministry of Huntsville –
A very small website that, in a single page, outlines the staff and programs of this ministry, which is basically their service schedule.

Inner City Ministry of Mobile –
Another site connected with the Nashville Inner City Church. It is a very small site that provides information on staff members and contacts.
Contact: (251) 432-5734

Landmark Church of Christ –

Landmark offers Bible studies to those in inner-city Montgomery 6 days a week. The provide transportation, clothing and relationships to those they come in contact with. They currently have 350 attend weekly.
Email: or by phone – Ken Kilpatrick (334) 277-5800


Little Rock:
River City Ministry –

They provide health and human services as well as ministry to the poor in Little Rock. They have a medical clinic, pharmacy, eye clinic, and dental clinic. They have a food pantry, clothing, and lunch four days each week.
Email or by phone – (501) 376-6694

Silver City Church of Christ –
The Silver City Church has mentoring programs, weekly worship services, a Carnival and Summer camps.
Email or by phone – Greg Sublett (501) 658-8849


Los Angeles:
Bel Air Presbyterian Church –

This ministry is involved in 22 different outreach ministries. They cover everything from Ronald McDonald House to outreach to at-risk teens. See also
Email or by phone – (818) 788-4200, ext. 118

Hilltop Community Church of Christ –

Provides a comprehensive list of their ministries, prayer lists, youth events, and schedule of worship.
Email or by phone – Matthew McMillon (310)322-5757

Union Rescue Mission of Los Angeles –

They provide education, job training, counseling, legal assistance, recovery programs, transitional housing, medical and dental care, meals, shelter, and clothing to help people have a second chance.
Email or by phone – (213) 347-6300

Beyond Shelter (Homelessness) –
Dedicated to combating poverty and homelessness. They have a shelter, employment services, housing, neighborhood regeneration, and an Institute for Research, Training, and Technical Assistance that puts on workshops and does consulting work.

World Impact –
Dedicated to bringing the gospel to the inner city all over the U.S. Focuses on indigenous church planting, evangelism, discipleship, schools, and camps. They have other locations in Fresno, CA; San Francisco, CA; Oakland, CA; San Diego, CA; Newark, NJ; Chester, PA; St. Louis, MO; Wichita, KS; and Dallas, TX.

Modesto Gospel Mission –
Provides food, shelter, job skills, help with addictions, parenting, and spiritual guidance. They also have a women’s shelter.

Palo Alto:
Urban Ministry of Palo Alto (Palo Alto Church of Christ) – and
Provides meals, groceries, employment, and shelter to the homeless and low-income of the city. They also provide gifts to poor children for Christmas. They sponsor the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto that meets the physical needs of the poor in Palo Alto.
Email or by phone – (650) 493-4263

San Diego:
Safe Harbor Church of Christ –

San Francisco:
Raphael House –
Shelter for the homeless. They have casework, aftercare, and children’s programs. They provide counseling and education as well as a thrift store.
Email or by phone – (415) 474-4621

Santa Ana:
Orange County Rescue Mission –
Provides shelter for the homeless men and women, family housing, addiction recovery, and medical clinics. They also have a mobile medical unit for those with no insurance and a hunger relief vehicle.
Email or by phone – (888) 946-HOPE (4673)

Santa Maria:
Central Coast Rescue Mission –
GED prep, Bible study, helping others help others,



Denver Rescue Mission

Has a men’s shelter with over 100 beds, 10 apartments with child care for single mothers, rehabilitation farm, and career training.


(303) 297-1815

Dry Bones

Trying to reach, rescue, and reconcile Denver youth. Supported by the Lakewood Church of Christ. They have backpacking in the Rockies, friends/relationships, and generally meeting the children where they are. This even involves occasionally renting a pool hall and having kids play for free.




Bridgeport Rescue Mission

They have a new life program that helps people overcome obstacles such as addiction. They have a homeless shelter, as well as clothes and food donation and distribution.


(203) 333-4087




Inner City Ministry of Orlando

As are all the churches indexed in this website, the information is very sparse. It lists programs – basically bible classes, staff, and contacts.


(407) 366-1676

Orlando Union Rescue Mission

Programs are split on gender lines. Men’s programs include: shelter (80 rooms), discipleship and job training. Women and children’s programs include: space for 174 people with an average stay of 8 months. They have a “Victorious Life” program with a goal of bringing people to Jesus.


(407) 422-4855


Pensacola Inner City Church of Christ

They run a Bible school and bus ministry. This site is another branch of the Nashville Inner City Church Website.


(850) 455-5426



Atlanta Union Mission

Website is now down.



River of Life Mission

This website is now down as well.




Jesus People Short Term Youth Missions

This site is down.

Contact –


Southside Mission



Wheeler Mission Ministries

They have a resource center/camp for men struggling with addiction and homelessness. This is called the Hebron Center. They have a women’s shelter with an average night of 75 women there. They also have a Hispanic ministry.

Contact: or


Kansas City:

Swope Parkway Church of Christ

They host a large number of programs: meals on wheels, pantry, transportation, prison ministry, small groups, and substance dependency groups. They also have services on radio and television.



Springfield Victory Mission

They have GED training, job training, addiction recovery, homeless shelter, clothing giveaway, shelter for women and children, emergency food and transportation, a thrift store, and a trade school.


(800) 346-3678


Beaver Falls:

Word of Grace Outreach

Offers a networking service for ministers and ministers across the country. They have a number of small group resources online. They offer mission trips to India, Ukraine, Haiti, Chile, Argentina, New York, Portugal, Spain and elsewhere.

Contact –


Urban Impact Ministry

This “is an urban ministry dedicated to helping the unreached people groups of New York City come to Christ. We primarily work with Jews and Muslims, as well as immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia.” They have a nice collection of New York related links including city and subway maps, and links to information on Islam.



Bronx Fellowship of Christ (plant of Manhattan Church of Christ)

They meet the first Sunday of each month in rented space and the rest of the time in house churches. They teach conversational English, Introduction to Christianity, and have a marriage course.


(718) 829-7801


Metro Ministries – Metro Ministries in Brooklyn, NY is based in the inner city and does Sunday School for over 20,000 kids a week. They also have “Brooklyn Boot Camp” for an intensive urban ministry training.


Manhattan Church of Christ

This is an excellent website that also is host to the Urban Ministry Conference website. They have Spanish ministries, online sermons, small groups, and a number of downloadable files of information or sermons on relevant contemporary issues.


(212) 737-4900 – Thomas Robinson

New York:

Mission New York City

Currently down

Camp Shiloh

This is a Christian camp that is aimed at inner city youth. They provide mentoring, after school programs, and tutoring. They provide a camp for children 8 to 15.


(212) 737-8258

City Harvest

They have nearly 800 programs that mainly focusing on bringing hunger relief to the needy of New York. With over 500 weekly donors, they collected over 21 million pounds of food in 2002-2003! They also have a nice information kit with valuable resource and statistics on hunger.

Contact: – Patricia Barrick
(917) 351-8700


New Jersey/New York

Metro Soul Urban Outreach Team

They have an abundance of free software for ministry. They have information on planting churches in the Northeast United States. They have a “How to” for using census data for ministry. See:

Contains Demographics of the Northeast United States as well. They also have a number of articles on church growth and planting.

Contact: – Ben Cheek


World Impact

They focus on church planting and Christian schools. This is part of the world impact churches mentioned above. See: for a helpful map of their locations, schools and camps.


(316) 681-1317



Urban Ministry Center

The have a “Room in the Inn” ministry that encourages churches from many denominations as well as colleges to open their doors to the homeless one night each week. They also teach through art and have worship.

Contact: – David Mullennix

(704) 347-0278



Cincinnati Urban Ministry Outreach

This is a church website that explains their ministries. They have a pantry and prepare holiday baskets. They also have a helpful links page to many popular Christian ministries and “Church of Christ” Universities


(513) 489-4659



John 3:16 Mission

They have a homeless shelter for men, car donation, crisis intervention for families, food pantry, and free store.


(918) 587-1186



Portland Urban Ministry Project

This is a well known urban ministry website in churches of Christ. The site is currently undergoing a bit of construction. They offer church services, Bible clubs, and tutoring. They also have a van ministry, teaching reading, and community meals.


(503) 528-8158


New Castle:

City Rescue Mission

Massive shelter and food services, clothing, counseling, networking, and case management are all offered. They help all from the homeless to victims of natural disaster.



Inner City Missions

They are non-profit and faith based. They seek to spread the Gospel and meet people’s needs. They have medical services, crusades, clothing and food ministries, and a sidewalk Sunday school.


(215) 634-6635

Master’s Commission

This site is currently down.




Inner City Ministry of Chattanooga

Ministries include: Bible school, Hispanic ministry, tutoring, and chorus.


(423) 624-0752


Farragut Church of Christ

List themselves as being involved in urban missions but their website does not give any details. See for a bulletin board of Urban ministry activity (currently empty).


(865) 966-5025


Inner City Ministry of Murfreesboro

Provide Bible school and worship for inner city Murfreesboro.


(615) 896-4444

Riverdale Church of Christ Inner City Ministry

This ministry uses buses to take volunteers into the inner city to pick up 2nd – 5th grade children and evangelize them.


Kingwood Heights Church of Christ

This ministry is attempting to plant an inner-city church in Murfreesboro. They also provide financial and human resources to the inner-city.


(615) 893-8618


Memphis Urban Ministries (MUM)

This ministry is involved in planting inner-city churches throughout the Memphis metropolitan area. (The website could use to be a bit more detailed). Provides internship positions for those interested in inner-city ministry.


(901) 755-6745

Agape Child and Family Services

Offers Christian counseling and adoption services. They also have counselors in several area churches. They have parenting classes, support services, and medical/insurance options.




Youth Encouragement Services

This is an outreach ministry to teens in Nashville’s inner-city. They provide a basketball league, tutoring, after-school programs, day care, and a Christmas store.


(615) 315-5333

Nashville Inner City Ministry

This is a bus ministry that picks up inner-city youth and takes them to their own Bible study/worship. This has developed into the Inner City Church of Christ (listed below). It is also responsible for planting the churches listed above with the web addresses.


Nashville Inner City Church of Christ

This is a church with the goal of planting similar churches in inner-city neighborhoods. The attendance is now over 600 (unclear if this is combined across locations or just in Nashville).




Southern Hills Church of Christ

This is an off-site urban outreach. This is mainly an outreach to children. They provide transportation, food, and Bible study. The ministers involved are Damon Parker and Brad Carter.


(325) 692-2670


Mission Arlington

This is an inter-denominational group with 254 house church congregations with a 4000+ attendance.

Ministries: Citizenship classes, G.E.D. classes, Conversational English, job assistance, 12 step recovery program, busing, summer camp, carnivals, scholarships, sports, crisis intervention, dental and medical clinics, eye exams, Bible studies, and internships.




Northside Church of Christ

Ministries include literacy programs, tutoring, Bible classes and worship. They provide Bible study tools and online Bible correspondence courses.


(409) 833-7706


Dallas life and demographics/statistics

Central Dallas Ministries

Came as offshoot of Preston Rd. Church of Christ

For a list of ministries, see


(214) 823-8710 x20

Dallas Community Youth Development Program

This was developed as a juvenile crime prevention program. They have leadership and skill development programs, service projects, education, and mentoring. They have an extensive list of links to similar agencies.


(214) 421-7330

Fort Worth:

Fortress Ministries

This is a church interested in community outreach for inner-city For Worth.


(817) 335-1007


Bammel Road Church of Christ

They have a lot of children’s ministries. They have addiction recovery groups and a Hispanic ministry.


Impact Houston Church of Christ

This church is known as the big inner-city outreach church of Houston. They have a distribution center for food and clothing that is open three days each week.


(713) 864-5667


Central Lubbock Church

They have the “Inside Out Community Outreach”, which is “a church-based substance abuse, addiction, homeless/hunger relief and HIV prevention ministry.” They have a food pantry and clothes distribution center, HIV testing for at-risk individuals, support groups for people in recovery from drugs, alcohol and other addictive behaviors. They also have Imani House Transitional Living Centers for men and women.



(806) 744-8633



Mission Spokane

They focus on church planting, community transformation, and prayer ministries.


(509) 468-4855


Tacoma Rescue Mission

They provide food, shelter, addiction recovery, and other emergency services.

Contact: – Diana Jeffery – Mike Lonergan


Central Union Mission

They provide shelter, safety, strengthening families, Hispanic ministry, Seniors luncheon, showers, medical and free legal aid, homeless shelters, and a camp retreat. They serve over 180,000 meals each year.


(202) 745-7118



Huntington City Mission

They feed the hungry, offer pastoral care, and clothing giveaways. They provide lodging, counseling, and case management. They have a decent list of links.


(304) 523-0293



Milwaukee Rescue Mission

Outreach to homeless men and women and to inner city youth. Help with job skills and placement, tutoring, mentoring, and spiritual development.



Urban Economic Development:

The Center for Urban Economic Development – University of Illinois (Chicago)

They have a database of full text articles on: Community economic development, workforce development, Neighborhood indicators, Contingent work, labor market trends, and immigrant and labor.

The Center for Urban and Regional Policy – Northeastern University (Boston)

This contains mostly data and data analysis tools for the city of Boston. Citistat is a program that allows one to review all areas of Boston city government. Their staff web page offers a number of course power points that have sociological lectures –

A Large list of links – including: Economic data, economic development, education, homelessness, housing, neighborhoods and communities, poverty, public policy and advocacy, sprawl, urban centers (university studies), urban planning, and urban professional organizations. See –

Economic Development Handbook

A Word document Handbook of considerable length and detail. “This study was conducted to identify the neighborhood economic development process for neighborhood members and was funded by Neighborhood Planning for Community Revitalization (NPCR)”

Pew Research Foundation – Urban Development and the Internet

This site is currently down.

They provide over 1000 useful links for socioeconomic data. They have tools for gather data from multiple sets. They rank various metro areas on a number of statistics. They also have projections of economic trends

Federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy

They have clickable maps for state and local data from several federal statistical agencies. It also has links to all the original data sources.

State of the Cities Data Systems, Department of Housing and Urban Development

This comes out of HUD. It is full of economic performance indicators for metro areas. They also have crime and employment statistics.

A source for over 100,000 data sets on state and national employment.

Urban Outreach Programs:

Pratt Institute Center for Community & Environment Development

This site is currently experiencing problems.

AGRM – Association of Gospel Rescue Missions or

This is an very well done and comprehensive website listing hundreds of Gospel Rescue Missions. They have employment information, statistics, missions, and links to member organizations all over the country. This is a very important tool for urban organizations and networking.

Center for Urban Community Services

Focuses on homelessness, mental illness, and substance abuse. They have transitional housing and links to Housing publications.

Compassion Works (Branch of Compassion International)

“Conferences for urban youth workers. Held in March in 2 locations-Philadelphia and Chicago. The main purpose of the conference is to motivate, equip and network urban youth and children’s workers from across the United States.”

Connect for Kids

This site provides a very wide range of resources concerning juvenile problems, adoption, parenting, and a large range of other topics dealing with children. The goal of the site is to develop better policy concerning children.

Continent of Great Cities

“Continent of Great Cities ministry recruits, trains, and cares for missionary teams that establish churches in Spanish and Portuguese speaking urban centers of South America.” They have a list of targeted cities and large scale church planting efforts.



Faith-Based Community Economic Development

Produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Public and Community Affairs Department.

Habitat for Humanity International

World famous organization that is dedicated to “eliminating poverty housing.”

International Center for Urban Training – City Team Ministries

Involved in inner-city youth work which hosts a center for urban training. The year-long program combines classroom instruction with supervised field experience. Offers a one year program to equip men and women for effective ministry in urban/cross-cultural contexts.” [Site is currently down]

International Mission Board

This is a group formed by the Southern Baptist Convention. Their goal is to evangelize the world. They have a missionary directory (now accessed through 1-800-866-3621), very helpful maps of various regions of the world in need of the Gospel, and people groups identified that need the Gospel.

Mission Year

“Our program is simple. We recruit teams of 5-6 committed Christians to live and work together in a poor urban neighborhood as ‘members’ of an active local church, reaching out to love their neighbors in a variety of practical ways. Besides church participation, our weekly routine is devoted to community service (in schools, hospitals, or other social service agencies) and neighborhood outreach, along with ongoing training, team-building, and personal devotions. Our people work long and hard to strengthen their communities, and to develop the kind of relationships that can change people’s lives forever.”

National Crisis Prevention Institute

“Provides nonviolent crisis intervention training to youth service providers.”


North American Mission Board

They have a large amount of education resources, computer/clip art, church planting resources, financial information, and a large staff dedicated to church planting and broadcasting resources.

Urban Immersion 2004

Offers spring break urban mission opportunities in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, and Washington D.C.


World Vision

“World Vision is an international Christian relief and development organisation working to promote the well being of all people – especially children. In 2003, World Vision offered material, emotional, social and spiritual support to 100 million people in 99 countries.” They have information on relief efforts, publications, and a large number of relief related links.

Federal Government Programs:

Community Development Financial Institution Fund

This site is currently down.

Faith-based and Community Initiatives

This covers everything from abstinence grants, conferences, data collections, and regulations for faith-based initiatives to receive government support.

National Congress for Community Economic Development

They have a HUGE number of links national and regional that deal with economic development. They run everything from AmeriCorp to the Prescription Benefit Card Program. For a list of programs, see

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development see also for information on specific communities.

This is the place for information and statistics on housing, rent, and many articles on a wide range of housing related subjects.

Demographic Resources:

Association of Gospel Rescue Missions Studies

AGRM’s population and demographics page.

American FactFinder

This is a data extraction tool for use on the 1990 and 2000 U.S. census data.

Bureau of Economic Analysis

They have income levels by industry even down to the county level. They have regional input-output data and gross state product.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Statistics on National, State, and Metropolitan employment and unemployment. They also have wages broken down by industry.

Census Scope

This has a large number of trends and population growth statistics. There are also numerous maps and rankings.

Demographics and Census Data

This site has numerous articles on demographics and population information. There are also census directories and definitions.

HUD USER – Housing and Urban Development – Policy Development and Research Information Service

This is a “gateway to current written research and analytic tools produced by and for HUD’s Office of Policy Development & Research (PD&R). You can use this online resource to access research reports about housing and community & economic development, datasets that can be used for original research, HUD income limits and fair market rents, and much more.” They also have some very useful reports.

U.S. Census Website

Home of the U.S. census. They have a population clock (U.S. and world), as well as trends, demographics, and projections. All things dealing with population figures and access tools.

Urban Youth Ministry:

Urban Youth Ministry Information

This is part of the AGRM website. It is full of resources and ideas for working with urban youth. See also


Summer Camps for Inner City Youth


San Francisco:

CityTeam Camp MayMac

They serve “disadvantaged and at-risk youth” from the San Francisco area.


(831) 335-3019



Cross Bar X Youth Ranch

This camp is specifically designed to take on low-income and at-risk inner city children.


(970) 259-2716



Riverwoods Christian Center

This site is currently running very slowly or is down.


Summer in the City

This is designed to let college students spend their spring break making a difference for those in inner city Chicago.



South Side Missions Camp Kearney

This camp is for inner city and foster children.




Wildwood Ranch

This camp is directed toward inner city children. Over 90% of those attending are on scholarships. They have over 1000 children attend each summer.


Grand Rapids:

Camp Mel-Tro-Mi

This is a camp for all ages. Its goal is to share the Gospel with hurting children and families.


(616)454-8249 ext. 248


Kansas City

City Union Mission/Camp CUMCITO

This is a branch of the City Union Mission in Kansas City, MO. This camp is to provide love and discipline for those with no home stability. Follow-ups happen after camp.


(816) 474-9380



The City Mission Youth Department



Buffalo City Mission, Inc

They have a shelter for women and children as well as food and clothing. They help with job loss and substance abuse. They also have a summer camp.


(716) 852-0761


Syracuse Rescue Mission

They have a learning center, career development, vocational training, and work experience. They also have a thrift store and statistical resources.


(315) 472-6251


Camp Bennett


Urban Studies Institutions:

For a large list of University Urban Institutions, see

That was listed above under URBAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – The Center for Urban and Regional Policy – Northeastern University (Boston)

The Center for Student Missions

“The Center for Student Missions exists to provide students with an effective urban ministry experience that transforms lives, invluences local churches and honors Christ. Local churches, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, childcare facilities and youth facilities are active in the inner city, but they need volunteers to be successful.”


Stadia – New Church Strategies – Christian Church Planting

This site helps organize church planters. They have a number of helpful downloadable forms on church planting. They have region specific information on church planting. They also outline the vital steps for planting a church.



Christian Connections for International Health

This is from the Christian Connections for International Health website.



Alcoholics Victorious (Kansas City, MO)

“Alcoholics Victorious support groups offer a safe environment where recovering people who recognize Jesus Christ as their “Higher Power” gather together and share their experience, strength and hope. Both the 12 Steps and the Alcoholics Victorious Creed are used at most AV meetings.”


(816) 471-8020

Alcoholics for Christ (Detroit, MI)

Based out of Detroit, they minister to alcoholics, their families, and children raised by alcoholic parents.


(248) 399 – 9955

Drug Treatment:

Calvary Ranch (Lakeside, CA)

Residential Christian Drug treatment facility.

Christians in Recovery (Tequesta, FL)

Over 2000 pages of helpful information to overcome addiction and maladaptive behaviors. A huge resource of information on drug treatment.


See –

GOAL Ministries – Global Outreach for Addiction, Leadership, and Learning (Princeton, NJ)

Helping people overcome addictions with Christian principles. GOAL stands for Global Outreach for Addiction Leadership.



National Association for Christian Recovery (Brea, CA)

Have additional recovery ministries linked at –

Contact: – Dale Ryan

Net Casting Ministries (Statesville, NC)

Helps broken families and addictions.

Contact: – Ron Ross

(704) 872-9769

Overcomers Outreach (Oakhurst, CA)

12 step program, Christian, deals with addictions



Teen Challenge World Wide Network (Springfield, MO and around the world)

Teen Challenge National Website

Teen Challenge of Southern California

Global Teen Challenge

Drug prevention program for teens. There are multiple site all over the world. See –

They have drug information and parental resources, as well as residential programs for teen drug recovery.


Sexual addiction:

Heart to Heart Counseling Centers (Colorado Springs, CO)

Deals with sexual addiction. They have telephone counseling, support groups, information on finding out if your spouse has a sexual addiction, and journal articles.



Mastering Life Ministries (Jacksonville, FL)

Deals with sexual sin and brokenness as well as anger management.


(904) 220-7474

Urban Counseling

Christian Counselors Directory

926 Counselors in 636 communities. This is a networking and reference tool.

Turning Point Counseling Center

This site is currently down.



Offers information for those affected by abortion, rape, incest, and sexual abuse

This site is currently down.


For those overcoming sexual abuse

This site is currently down.

Confident Kids Support Groups

Website for children of dysfunctional homes. They have curriculums, resources, seminars, and directories.


His Mansion Ministries

Helps dysfunctional Young Adults.


(603) 464-5555


Christianity and Homosexuality –

Has great links, organizations, and articles on the topic of Christianity and Homosexuality. It has a bibliography, questions and answers, and other links. It is part of the “Gay Change Web Ring” which can be accessed at the bottom of the page.

Exodus International

Helps people leave the gay lifestyle. Resources for those in the gay lifestyle as well as for ministers who deal with this topic. They have a large array of articles and topics with detailed information.



Rest Ministries

For those with chronic pain

Website is currently down.

Victim to Victor

Reconciliation for victims

Website is currently down.


Urban Mission Journal

Offers a selection of full text articles from the Urban Mission Journal

Urban Ministry Conference

email for information

Helpful articles with Urban Ministry tools:

Hispanic Urban Ministry Conference

The Hispanic version of the above Urban Ministry Conference.


Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization

This site is dedicated to spreading the gospel all over the world.

Urban Ministry Resource Guide (Emmanuel Gospel Center)

They have a guide book for urban ministry, pastoral resources, and service opportunities.

Association of Gospel Rescue Missions – Computer resources In particular –

This is a page of their online tools for urban ministry. They have an introduction to using computers as tools for urban ministry, a software library, and list serves.

They also have an extensive list of more Urban ministries similar to those listed in this post.


They provide a huge number of links and databases on all things Christian. This covers everything from church history to languages and upcoming concerts.


They call themselves the “ultimate online Christian search tool”. This site also provides links to a large number of Christian resources.

Poverty and Homelessness

American Bar Association Commission on Homelessness and Poverty

This is the Bar Associations Commission/Conference on Homelessness.

Homeless Online

This is a not for profit organization that also serves a few other interests. They are non-religious.

Homelessness Information from the AGRM

This page has a large number of articles on all facets of homelessness. It also contains statistical information on homelessness.

National Alliance to End Homelessness

This is an effort to mobilize the private sector to bring an end to homelessness. They have a 10 year plan and a tool kit of information to prevent and end homelessness.

National Resource Center for Homelessness and Mental Illness –

They have statistics on homelessness, links to journals regarding homelessness and a large list of links of Federal sites regarding homelessness.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Homelessness Page

A very small page of several government links regarding homelessness.

Report on Homelessness

This is a substantial article on the state of the homeless in the U.S. They cover mental illness, definition of terms, substance abuse among the homeless, and the spiritual condition of the homeless.

Operation Work

“To provide homeless men and women Worthwhile Opportunities through Resources, Knowledge, Job Training and Career Development, helping them to become productive and self-sufficient members of society”

Online poverty tour

From the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. This is a flash presentation on the homeless.

Urban Missions Internships

Association for Gospel Rescue Missions – Internships

Check here for many internship positions in Urban or Inner City rescue environments. It contains many non-CofC national/international outreach programs.

Online Church of Christ Directories

Here are three key online lists of Churches of Christ in America:

Churches of Christ Online

Church of – Church of Christ Directory

Church Zip – Online Directory for Churches of Christ