Becoming more grounded in my call
Urban ministry. This phrase was strange and unfamiliar to me, but I was intrigued nonetheless. I wanted to learn more about serving a community, I wanted to know that there is something out there for people who do not wish to serve in typical ministerial settings. I honestly just wanted to know that I had listened and followed God correctly, because I was beginning to feel lost. Adjusting to new faces, new classes, new internship setting and balancing all these activities also led to feelings of uncertainty. The rapid movement of weeks one and two made it difficult to see things clearly, but as crystal clear as a diamond I saw a class opening that beckoned my attention.
Signing up for a class entitled “Introduction to Urban Ministry,” I did not realize it, but I arrived with my own preconceived notions. Though I had never heard the phrase used, using context clues it was apparent how the class would go. As a black woman, I assumed that I knew all that urban ministry comprised of and was only taking the course to sharpen my already fine-tuned skills. The first class meeting focused on defining the name of the class. I was puzzled as to why someone would need help comprehending these two simple words. It was then I realized, I needed that help. I didn’t understand that there is more to urban ministry than those two words. The word urban describes the socioeconomic and geographic setting and the word ministry explains the job of clergy and religious leaders upon entering that space. We discussed the importance of getting to know the people involved in the community, for it is the personal relationships formed that lead to the sharing and development of personal bonds. Due to the stress that comes with working and living in a city, it is important that the relationships built are on a foundation that is loving, genuine and easy going.
In the short few weeks of class I have become more grounded in my call to ministry. Though I am not sure if urban ministry is where I will end up, I have learned to value the things I love the most – the relationships I am able to make with people. Urban ministry is about finding the diamond, within each person, in the rough and busyness of the city. Taking this class has forced me to view the world in a different lens that puts the essential needs of others before the material needs of myself. For this, I am truly grateful.
Darnysha is the Pastoral Intern at First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. She balances her free time by reading Jane Austen and watching reality TV.