The role of a mentor is a powerful component of the Church-Based Seminary education offered by World Impact.

When students become part of The Urban Ministry Institute at World Impact, mentors help students as they become fellow students of Scripture.


For people who might not otherwise have access to a seminary education to prepare them for ministry, TUMI checks all the boxes.

World Impact trains urban church leaders with contextualized training designed for men and women in communities of poverty. It provides affordable, accessible, and effective training.

Our vision includes 4 steps:

  1. World Impact partners with churches, organizations, or denominations to identify emerging leaders.
  2. Training centers for learning are established.
  3. Students complete their training and certification.
  4. Graduates champion renewal and spiritual growth in their communities.

Of course, the hope is for this cycle to continue and expand, offering increased opportunities to more students. Ultimately, the goal is to fulfill World Impact’s mission to establish healthy churches in every community of poverty. Through our training, these leaders are being discipled, trained, and certified to complete the work. It’s very exciting!

Learn 4 Spiritual Benefits from Engaging in Leadership Retreats

A Story of Impact

When Jennifer Chou was called to build a church on Skid Row, she knew she needed the training to make it happen. Her formal training as an accountant hadn’t prepared her for ministry at all, let alone ministry in an impoverished community. There are over 85,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, and block after block of Skid Row is covered in makeshift housing for them.

“Jesus Knows My Name Ministry began in 2014, soon after I began taking TUMI classes,” said Jennifer. “Since then, many people have visited us on Sunday mornings to receive food and hear the Gospel.”

An Easter Transformation

One of those people was Denise, who like many people on Skid Row, was alone. Her husband and daughter had died, and her only remaining child was in rehab.

Denise became a regular attendee, and one Easter morning, she responded to the worship and message with many tears.

“How can I pray for you?” Jennifer asked her.

“I’m not sad,” she said, “I’m grateful for God’s grace and how He’s taken care of me.”

Denise left and soon returned with a bag of pennies and a cross. “I want you to have this,” she said to Jennifer.

Jennifer refused the money at first, but Denise insisted. “God wants me to give this to you as the first payment to build his church.” Jennifer accepted her gift and, in doing so, forged a bond with Denise she wouldn’t soon forget.

Identify Spiritual Gifting

Those who attend Jen’s church are constantly reminded to turn their eyes to Jesus, for He is where their sustenance and encouragement come from.

Jennifer’s World Impact classes helped her identify her gifts, accept her calling, and begin a ministry to people she loves. “It is on Sunday mornings at Skid Row, however, that I learn how to live out the Word among those we minister to,” she said.

This story of impact is a beautiful picture of the generational impact that leaders can have when they bravely fulfill their calling like Jennifer did through her Jesus Knows My Name Ministry.

Three Pillars of World Impact Training

1. Theological Education

To understand our theology, here’s a brief outline:

  • The Calling of God
  • The Centrality of the Church
  • God’s Election of the Humble
  • The Kingdom of God
  • The Power of Community
  • The Standard of Excellence
  • The Explosiveness of Multiplication

In the theological pillar of seminary-based education, Biblical and theological truth is presented to the student through books and self-study materials and in class through “live” and/or video teaching.

In addition, the role of the mentor includes assisting students by breaking down these principles and their application.

Seminary satellites exist inside prison walls. Learn more about WI’s prison ministry.

2. Practical Application

We learn best by doing! To reinforce lessons learned, students must be engaged in pastoral or lay ministry through the local church.

This can be in a ministry of the student’s choosing, fitting with their gifting and the church’s availability. But a powerful component is the way learners generate questions based on their field experiences and then use the truths learned to form new strategies that can be applied in ministry.

Imagine learning to play baseball in a classroom. There’s nothing like getting out there and learning how to improve your hand-eye coordination and game instincts. The same goes for ministry – nothing compares to real-life ministry.

3. Mentorship

This pillar represents the unique approach we take to ensure the students’ education is transformative.

When thinking of mentors, picture a facilitator or instructor. The role of a mentor is to equip leaders among the poor while, at the same time, challenging them to both intellectual and spiritual excellence.

These mentors serve as an anchor in the education process but also help students to develop a biblical framework for their own theological exploration.

Here are a couple of things we’ve seen mentors do to challenge and inspire students:

  • Give context and help students integrate their learning into the Story of God and their lives.
  • Help students as they grapple with the teachings of the faith while relating them to their own specific faith tradition.
  • Make an impact in the training process as they strive to know, love, and live the story of God in their personal lives, their ministries, and in their lives in the church and community.

Mentors are a critical ingredient for ministers from urban neighborhoods to succeed in their studies.

Watch students work and study inside prison walls.


As the national training arm for World Impact, the Urban Ministry Institute is all about equipping leaders for the urban church, especially among the poor, in order to advance the Kingdom of God.

Our single passion is to identify, empower, and release laborers who can both display and declare God’s kingdom reign among their neighbors, where they live.

With theological training, practical application, and mentorship, graduates are ready to fulfill their calling to evangelize, disciple, plant, and pastor churches in unreached urban neighborhoods.

Support mentorship for urban ministry leaders by donating to the World Impact vision.