How St. Louis is Empowering Leaders
What does empowering urban leaders in St. Louis look like? Sometimes it looks a lot like a Lego build! We have two sons and drawers full of Legos at our house and our nine-year-old in particular loves to launch new building projects. Minutes after he holds a new box in his hands there are Lego pieces and manuals and little numbered plastic bags strewn around his play area like a colorful debris field. None of it appears to connect until he starts building each part and fitting them together.
As urban missionaries and ministry developers we spend a lot of time as “Lego builders,” connecting pieces and visualizing how called men and women can link arms to advance God's Kingdom in the hardest and darkest areas of our city. Sometimes that means building something new but sometimes it means building connections between existing resources and leaders.
Isolation is a real challenge for urban poor communities, and, in many cases, includes the leaders called to serve them, which makes these connections so important. This is one of the vital roles we play! In St. Louis we are finding people in need of resources for discipleship and leadership training. Through both our discipleship curriculum, Fight the Good Fight of Faith, and The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI), we have been able to build powerful connections. Recently we met with staff from our TUMI headquarters (visiting from Wichita, Kansas) and three local pastors from churches in three distinctly different areas of St. Louis and all felt the excitement of a shared vision of ministry to the urban poor.
Pastor Jason, pictured on the far left, leads a church with outreaches to the Bosnian and Iraqi immigrants, and is partnering with us to get Fight the Good Fight of Faith translated into Bosnian. Pastor Roger, pictured next, is a World Impact Associate, who leads a TUMI satellite and who is a liaison to Spanish-Speaking churches. Pastor Mike, pictured third from the right, is a church planter in a poor neighborhood in North St. Louis and will soon be launching another satellite of TUMI. Separately God is using the ministries of these men in mighty ways but what a joy it is to see connections built between them, such diversity that fits together so beautifully for the one purpose of equipping and empowering the urban poor to advance God’s Kingdom in St. Louis!