Urban Ministry FYP in a Nutshell
To be a student in the Urban Ministry First Year Program is probably one of the best things to have happened to me. After just leaving high school with a wandering mind and passion to get out there and be involved in this world, I had ambitions and goals set for myself. Since entering into this program, my views on life and the world around me, as well as my desires to create relationships and learn life-long lessons, have developed in crazy ways.
For a hands-on learner like myself, this program has allowed me to witness firsthand the things that I am passionate about. From being immersed in the streets of the Philadelphia area, to traveling to Guatemala and seeing ministries flourish in the least likely of places, I have seen that people with a heart for ministry are crucial to this world’s development. And if God has appointed you to do it, be ready for quite the journey.
A typical day in the life of an Urban Ministry student consists of immense amounts of observation. It is our job to observe the people around us that do ministry and know what it means to serve in hard places. So we head out in the university vans twice a week to go see it for ourselves. (A decent amount of van bonding time does wonders for the cohort.) It also consists of relationships upon relationships. This is key, because connections built between great minds result in the greatest collaborations. (Our professor Dr. Coz is quite the expert on making connections, so by now, we know that is crucial.) We learn what it is like to love, even when it may hurt. Loving
someone is walking with them and entering into their lives, which is what we get to do each time we meet with someone. It is one of the most rewarding experiences and really makes you think about how many people there are in this world in need of guidance and partnership. Last but certainly not least, one of the biggest things to stress is this: the world is full of complex systems. There are events going on all around the world that lead to the next, kind of like a cycle or flow chart. But the only way to unravel it all is to be patient and open-minded when encountering conflict. The word complex is a buzz word for urban min students–but it is valuable to understanding how life works for all kinds of people groups.
This experience is a very unique one because the city is our classroom. The busy streets and brick buildings are where we learn the most valuable lessons. We become connected to a culture that is not our own. And this is where we develop the skill of understanding more and more the world that we live in. It isn’t always easy, but our generation needs young people who are willing to step out of their comfort zones and into the hard places where there are questions that deserve to be answered. I highly value all that I am learning from this experience, and the cohort that I have been able to share these experiences with. We learn as a team, and we have developed our minds together, which is an amazing thing to experience as a freshman in college. This is a great program for someone who desires to search for answers, and is ready to be transformed and challenged each day.