Recently someone asked, “What do you do when the graduating class is only one student at The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) of Dallas?” I replied, “The same thing we do when we have many.” You see, in the same way that the Lord found value in the one sheep, enough to leave the ninety-nine behind to care for it, we value one urban leader who desires to be equipped for ministry. Our goal is to train, serve, and champion them as they prepare to answer the Lord’s call on their lives. When they complete TUMI, we celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness, and their accomplishment, with sincere glad hearts. Recently, I facilitated such a graduation ceremony for one student, Charles Mitchell.
Charles is a unique brother. He was in recovery from addiction, participating in a local ministry, and full of zeal for the Lord when he came to his first TUMI class. He studied with us for a couple of years. I watched him grow. He took on more responsibility at his church, and the ministry, where he served. Charles was an exemplary TUMI student. Sadly, he fell back into addiction, dropped out of the program, and was in the wind for a season. We were all heartbroken.
Then a few years later, I received a phone call from Charles. He was clean, working at a local mission, and ready to jump back into TUMI. After visiting with his leaders, I welcomed Charles back into the program. Since that time, Charles has continued to grow in the Lord. He now has a staff role at a local ministry. In May he completed his studies. We praise God for His faithfulness! He has provided Charles—and all of us—with testimonies of His redemption, hope, and love.
Please take a moment to pray for Charles. Pray also for all our other TUMI graduates, and students, as they serve their local churches and ministries. Ask the Lord to grant me grace and strength as I coach and resource leaders who will transform their urban communities. Please know that as you pray for me, I am praying for you as you are on mission for the Lord in your community.