Recently I was asked to write a brief article on what it means to be an urban missionary with YWAM Houston for a Newsletter. I thought I would share my thoughts with you all. 🙂 Enjoy!
Over the past 50 years the world has seen an impressive transformation take place as the general human population has relocated to urban centers. In 2008 civilization crossed a landmark: for the first time over 50% the global population lived in the city. Only fifty years ago it was 30% and a century ago it was 10%. Today scholars expect the world’s urban population to hit five billion by 2030. In other words, it isn’t slowing down.
Throughout history, Christian’s have attempted to transform and engage the culture in which they lived, using the tools and technologies of their day to make an impact for the Kingdom of God. Today, the city is proving to be a powerful and God-given tool for engaging the nations with the gospel. Cities in the United States indisputably influence the nation through elements such as art, finances, entertainment and education. In addition to influence, our urban areas are melting pots of race, religion and language. We believe that urban ministry provides a beautiful and unique way to communicate the love of Christ to the world from one platform.
Here at YWAM Houston, we feel called to address the justice issues of our city as well as to mobilize, train and equip the next generation for urban missions. We participate in street evangelism in the Montrose area of Houston, where the sins of sexual immorality are prominent. Our burden is for the street kids, the homeless, the drag queens and the gang members. We are motivated by the hope that the “least of these” would hear and understand the life-changing love of Christ.
As a “sex-trafficking hub” and the strip club capital of the US, Houston is filled with the broken and the lonely. Yet God is rising up a new wave of missions, believers who are willing to enter the clubs, the prisons, the tracks and the brothels. Each year, visiting short-term missions teams flood into the urban area of Houston to experience urban ministry hands on. These teams come from all over the country and are put to work feeding the homeless, painting in the 3rd Ward and running Vacation Bible Schools. We hope to ignite a passion in them that follows them home.
To be an urban missionary is to be available. It is to care about your neighbor, your boss and your own back yard. To be an urban missionary is to love your city and to open yourself up to the every day opportunities to make a difference. It is to make music, preach the gospel and give away your time and talents. It is to chase down the drug addict and the prostitute to tell them they are loved.