"Mission is no longer (only) about crossing the oceans, jungles and deserts, but (also) about crossing the streets of the world's cities." Ray Bakke, A Theology as Big as the City
The Youth & Urban Renewal Center (YURC) is located in the School of Divinity at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. An extension of "Christian Leadership to Change the World," YURC's mission is to act as a catalyst for renewal in urban environments through partnership with the local church by providing:
- Custom-designed leadership training
- Youth ministry training
- Facilitating coalitions, and
- Strategic planning services.
Advocating for At-Risk Urban Communities
Today, more and more churches find themselves surrounded by at-risk urban communities. These communities are filled with people who are unable to lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. The Bible teaches practical expression of love and mercy that advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves (Proverbs 31:8-9). Also, the Gospels teach us that Jesus was proactive in both teaching and showing love and mercy in practical ways to those in dire need.
Changing Obstacles to Opportunities for Urban Churches
The Church is the Body of Christ to continue the ministry that Jesus began. While urban churches keep the same functions (worship, evangelism, discipleship, stewardship, fellowship and service), the forms they take must adapt to the kaleidoscopic realities of a 24-hour city. (Ray Bakke, Theology as Big as the City, 13)
A few of the complex issues urban churches face include: the situations of the urban youth, education, poverty, injustice, violence, sexual misconduct, drugs and gangs. But these obstacles create the opportunity for urban churches to boldly take the gospel to the streets.
"Urban America is in a state of emergency. …What can we do about this? The churches have an opportunity to share the gospel in nonconventional ways."
Dr. Antipas L. Harris, Director