Urban & Inner-City Mission
About Urban & Inner-City Mission
LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission is focused on assisting congregations with engaging their communities to bring about renewal. This engagement occurs through an intentional focus on witness, mercy and life together. The resulting renewal stems from a revitalized congregation that has successfully identified who it is, what it believes and what defines it. These factors serve to unite a congregation and enable its members to witness to the hope that each has in Christ.
Witness: The congregation, as a corporate citizen within its community, has at its center the Word of God and the weekly gifts received in worship. The living and active Word of God has the power to revitalize — imparting new life and vigor. It has the power to destroy, then build back up — to kill, then resurrect. This very phenomenon was modeled to the church by Christ.
Mercy: Extending mercy to our community is as simple as determining how we can love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor means caring for him in both body and soul. We can care for the body through our efforts in assisting with food, shelter, clothing, education and so on. As we care for the body, we are building trusting relationships for the door to be opened to care for the soul. As the congregation’s members care for the soul, they listen, they love unconditionally and they invite their neighbor into the loving fold of their church family.
Life Together: Through the congregation’s life together, members experience the fellowship that stems from a common faith in Christ. As a community, they share in common the spiritual and temporal gifts bestowed upon them from the heavenly Father. As they live and serve together, a family fellowship is established that is then expressed in the church’s life.
There can be no doubt that our cities are growing at a fast pace; they are even outpacing the growth of suburbs for the first time in years. Despite this growth, the footprint of the church is shrinking in cities. It can be gritty and dangerous to live and work in the city. The rewards for ministering here may seem minimal, since there is no guarantee that a stable church with a robust budget will result from the effort. In fact, ministry in the inner city can be a financial drain requiring the support of other congregations and the district. Ultimately, our cities and urban congregations can seem to be a picture of death and decay — congregations struggling in the midst of their declining communities. This struggle may have even led to churches disengaging entirely from their crumbling communities.
However, as Christians we can’t overlook the widow, the homeless, the disabled, the sojourner, the single mother, the orphan, the addict, the prostitute, the murderer and, of course, the high-class sinners of lawyers and tax collectors. Who needs the Gospel? Of whom does Christ say we should make disciples? Who did Jesus sit with at the table?
Who has the ability to truly transform lives? Only God. Who else but The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) — whose members are centered on a Word and Sacrament ministry — should be involved in this mission for those who so desperately need it? Who else would God choose for this ministry but those who understand mercy? We know mercy in the LCMS because we know that before God we are all beggars with nothing to offer. Christ’s words from Matt. 25:40, “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me,” are taken seriously and heeded in our church. We do not lord it over those in need, but we instead serve them in order to help bring them from poverty and brokenness to wholeness.
We dare not shrink from our cities! If ever there was a time when Christ was needed in our urban areas, it is now. In these urban areas are mission fields full of broken, hurting and lost individuals in need of hearing about God’s saving grace. Right in our churches’ backyards are international mission fields ripe for multicultural outreach. We must bring the resources of our Synod to bear in order to walk alongside our struggling urban congregations. We will take to the streets to fight the conquered foe and to announce the victory because not even the very gates of hell will prevail upon us. We will focus our eyes on that vision of the King’s arrival. We will not lose hope because our current suffering cannot compare to our future glory. If God is for us, who can be against us, where not even death can separate us from His love? That old evil foe, the devil, who prowls like a lion to devour our communities and our urban congregations, will be felled. From out of the destruction and decay that he leaves will come life and beauty as Christ’s name is made known.
- Creating local and regional urban-ministry partnerships
- Facilitating strategic Lutheran ministry training opportunities that embrace viable community engagement, cultural, generational and ethnic diversity
- Modeling merciful and compassionate care that informs intentional local Gospel outreach
- Nurturing mission and ministry conferences and webinars
- Making Christ known in our cities
- Please contact our office to receive informationn on connecting to ministries that address:
- Affordable aging services
- Community re-entry
- Housing, transitional housing and blight improvement
- Asset-based community planning
- Social enterprise
- Programming for at-risk youth
- Pregnancy resources
- Urban education
- Substance abuse recovery
- Providing for basic needs
The advantage of these services and programs are that not only will they be empowering, they will truly be transformative for communities and individuals.