World Impact’s Innovative Approach to Building Healthy Urban Churches

At World Impact, we believe the local church is the hope of the world. The local church is God’s primary broadcaster of the Gospel, and strongly influences the quality of life within urban neighborhoods. This is why we work tirelessly to achieve our goal of building a healthy church in every community of poverty. 



The tough reality faced by pastors and church workers serving in urban communities is that money and time are too scarce for these leaders to engage in long, traditionally-structured pastoral training — all while devotedly serving God in their church community. 

Without training geared towards their needs and circumstances, building healthy churches in these communities is practically impossible.



We understand that 95% of church leaders are not trained for pastoral ministry. 

That’s why everything we do at World Impact is focused on training and equipping church leaders. 

It’s also the reason we have developed innovative ways for local churches to reach their cities with the Gospel through redemptive poverty work. As a result, our impact has spanned the globe. 


Our Innovative Approach to Equip Leaders To Build Healthy, Urban Churches


World Impact offers 5 TRAINING OPTIONS for urban ministry leaders.

1. Church-Based Seminary Education (TUMI)

Emerging leaders receive a seminary education geared towards urban life. Students include church staff, impassioned lay leaders, and incarcerated individuals who have received a call to ministry. 

By building partnerships with churches, organizations, and denominations, TUMI sites are established all over the world. 

2. Church Planting (Evangel)

The Evangel School of Urban Church Planting trains Christian workers to plant healthy churches among the urban poor. This training is designed specifically to equip leaders and teams to reach under-resourced communities. 

Here’s a real-life example of a Christian worker — and a community — being transformed by the Evangel training experience. 

Bernard knew he was called to be a pastor at a young age. 

Without a dad at home, he was initiated into a gang at 10 years old. When his mother took him to church and he saw the pastor’s positive impact on the community, he knew he wanted to be a pastor. 

He received training through World Impact’s Evangel School of Church Planting and was commissioned to start his own training center for church planters.

Today, Bernard is a pastor in Oakland and partners with World Impact to transform his community through the gospel. Bernard’s church has formed a “needs network” and a leadership center for the formerly incarcerated. 

He says, “We are better together, stronger together, and can transform communities together.”

Learn more about Bernard’s story at

3. Trauma Healing

World Impact’s Trauma Healing program equips leaders and urban ministry workers to facilitate Bible-based healing groups. Participants can choose to become trained to lead their own healing groups — expanding the ministry, such as in this story from Canada:

Since 2015, Canada has welcomed 45,000 Syrian Refugees. Raffi and Majd, both Syrian-born Canadian citizens, felt a calling to minister to these traumatized men, women, and children. 

They Attended a World Impact Trauma Healing training and became healing group facilitators. They then translated the material into Arabic to use it in their outreach to refugees. 

Not only do they host healing groups for refugees, but they also train psychologists, psychiatrists, Christian counselors, and pastors across Canada. 

4. Leadership Retreats

World Impact believes in resourcing urban leaders. One way this is accomplished is through concise, practical, and hands-on training at retreat gatherings in various locations.

Retreat details:

  • Hosted for urban men and women. 
  • Typically offered in both Spanish and English
  • Men’s retreats are a time for urban men to gather, seek the Lord, be encouraged and convicted.
  • Women’s retreats offer time away from the busyness of life, with powerful teaching and the forging of friendships.

Click here to find more information about upcoming retreats. 

5. Prison Ministry

Through our Onesimus Workshops, we train church leaders and workers to succeed in discipling those who have been incarcerated. We also offer church-based seminaries through TUMI for those who are behind bars.

Here’s a story of one incarcerated gang leader who experienced peace for the first time — in prison. 

Alberto was convicted of first-degree murder and given a life sentence after involvement in a shooting. Then, the brutality of prison caused him to question the purpose of his life. 

Remembering his parents sharing Christ with him when he was younger, he asked the prison guard for a Bible. Alberto began unloading years of burdens to the Lord and experienced peace for the first time. He gave his life to Christ.

He renounced his gang allegiance and moved prisons. He soon met other prisoners taking seminary classes through World Impact. They helped him understand that God wanted to redeem his leadership qualities to advance His Kingdom. 

Today, he pastors a church and operates a World Impact Church-BasedSeminary satellite in Mexico. 

Alberto says, “This brings me joy, because I know I’m doing what God has called me to do.”

Watch Alberto’s incredible story at



Here are 3 ways World Impact ACTIVATES urban ministry leaders.

  • We PARTNER by coming alongside local churches and organizations that are doing poverty work. 
  • We EMPOWER by connecting church leaders to the training they need and require to execute their calling.
  • We REACH by commissioning trained leaders to go back to their cities or countries of origin and create new ministries.


What’s Next For World Impact

Over the decades, we’ve witnessed countless stories of how investment in a God-called leader makes all the difference in creating a healthy church that helps the neighborhood flourish.

Our top three strategic initiatives include:

  1. Placing new Ministry Developers in key regional US cities to train and disciple local pastors and church workers.
  2. Becoming a bilingual bi-cultural organization to fully engage US Hispanic church leaders and workers with the Spanish resources, training, and discipling needed to plant and lead healthy churches.
  3. Expanding global access to our vitally needed training program for church leaders in communities of poverty around the world. 

Learn more about World Impact by exploring our explore our 50-year history, beliefs, and leadership.

Want to join the movement and partner with us in our redemptive poverty initiatives? Give safely online today: