From The Executive Director…

“Not that I have already obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

When I was is seventh grade, I tried out for the Junior High wrestling team. I made the team, but only as a junior varsity wrestler. Even then I was very competitive. Therefore, I was not going to settle for second place. So, every week I signed up to challenge the varsity wrestler in my weight class, and every wek I got beat, sometimes badly. But I didn’t give up, and the next year I was the varsity wrestler. If I would have given up, I never would have learned and grown enough to make the varsity position. Any prize worth having is worth the struggle to achieve it.

That is exactly what Paul is telling us in Philippians 3. The Christian life must be lived with the future in our minds. The failures and successes of the past are there as well, but they have to take a back seat to what God is calling us to do and become. If we take our eyes off the prize, we will never live the life to which God is calling each one of us.

For the past couple of months, the Urban Family Ministries staff have been praying and talking about what God is calling us to become as a ministry. UFM has had our own set of successes and failures in our past, but God is not done with us. Here are a couple of lessons we have learned from the past that will help guide our future. First, ministry takes place in the context of relationships. All our great programs are designed to build relationships with individuals and families so we can share the Good News of Jesus Christ and build up the family. Second, without our faithful volunteers, these relationships would be nearly impossible. The volunteers are often the ones with closest relationships with a child and their family, and these relationships are what make the lasting impact.

As we move forward, God is calling us to work more closely with the urban churches in Grand rapids. We understand that Urban Family Ministries is not a church and so our goal is to connect those we serve with a local congregation. In addition, we have become very good at reaching out and building relationships with children and youth in our community. We want to find ways to transfer these skills to local congregations so more children, youth, and families may come to know Jesus.

Over the next few months, I ask for your prayers as Urban Famil Ministries staff, Volunteers, and the board continue to discern the future direction of UFM. We are excited about the future! However, this process is hard work, but any prize worth having is worth the struggle to acheive it.

In Christ,

Rev. Rob Cornelison


“He Put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him”

Psalm 40:3



Summer Camp 2014

Summer camp is in full swing! June Camps are now behind us, and July will be equally as busy. We have several more camp sessions to complete, and that means there will be a lot of running back and forth to do. Interested in riding along? We’d love to have you join us. We drive the kids up on Sundays and bring them home on Fridays. We also go up on Tuesdays just to visit the kids and take pictures, so that is an option to… Give us a call at 345-9009 or email Noelle for details.

As of today, 116 children are able to attend camp out of our goal of 120. THANK YOU to everyone that sponsored a summer camp slot. THANK YOU for making it possible for out children to learn more about Jesus!

Church Partnerships

A youth director from Portage, Michigan contacted us again this year for a summer ministry project for his youth group. We had the perfect solution… Connect them with churches right here in our neighborhood. Last week youth from Lake Center Bible Church helped Wellspring Church Prepare for their upcoming Vacation Bible School (VBS) during the morning. Each afternoon they helped run True Light Baptist Church’s VBS. What a great way to partner together to make a bigger impact for the kingdom!

We received this follow-up note from True Light Baptist Church…

“We have asked, who are our neighbors, and you responded. Our goal was to offer fellowship through friendship, food, and the word of God. It was a simple formula that your organization helped us to facilitate. We had a success. We had more than 70 children visit with us. We made new friends with Lake Center Church. We thank you for being present this week, and thank you for being our neighbor.”

UFM Teen Night

“Go!” Our final Thursday Night gathering for the 2013-2014 ministry season was a riot! Eight teens gathered with eight adult volunteers and headed out for a neighborhood scavenger hunt. the group was split evenly into two teams and given a list of neighborhood destinations along with a map of where each destination was located. The teams headed to Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy, Baxter Community Center, Joe Taylor Park, Eastern Avenue Community Garden, and other neighborhood stops. They took a group photo acting out a typical activity at each location and sent the photos via smart phone to the “judges.” The judges awarded points for creativity, timeliness, and positive participation. It was an absolute JOY to see the teams working together to discover our neighborhood, and have fun doing so!!

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:16

A Super Saturday Treat

At the end of each Super Saturday season, the top 10 CIA winners (“Caught in Action” for good behavior) and top 10 point earners (for attendance and saying their memory verse) earn a special outing. This year it was a trip to SKYZONE. The kids (and volunteers) jumped for a hour then were treated to ice cream… yum!

Kids Day to the Whitecaps

A generous volunteer bought tickets and joined several UFM children for an afternoon of fun at a West Michigan Witecaps baseball game on June 30. They enjoyed face painting, cotton candy, and a fun game too.


UFM Neighborhood Carnival- July 11

Looking for fun and local opportunities to enjoy our community?!?! Come and join our neighbors for our annual Neighborhood Carnival this Friday, July 11 from 1:00pm-4:00pm. We’re partnering with our neighbor, Up & Out Ministries and the helpful hands of Amway Corporation’s summer interns. You’ll find the fun in the parking lots behind our UFM ministry center, 543 Eastern Ave. SE, and next door at Up & Out Ministries, 525 Eastern Ave. SE. Games, prizes, food, and tons of fun!!! Have you connected with a UFM child or family recently? Bring them along. Free for the whole family!!!

Volunteers Needed…

High School Students- Volunteer Community Service Hours– Got some hours to fulfill? Get ’em done this summer by volunteering at Urban Family Ministries. We have lots of things you can help us with at our Ministry Center. Give us a call at (616)365-9009.

Drivers, Co-Pilots, and Substitute Drivers- With all the activities we have going on during the school year, there is always a need for extra drivers. Our biggest need will be drivers for our Cornerstone program, which would mean driving a UFM van of kids to Cornerstone University 1 night each week. it would be the same night each week beginning in October through early April. off on holiday weeks and any days college is not is session. We could use some drvers, co-pilots and substiture drivers for Super Saturday as well. Contact Noelle for more information.

Tuesday Morning Child Care Help– Beginning in September, we can use some help caring for 1-5 preschoolers while their moms attend our Ladies Bible Study, 10:00-12:00noon. These children are a delight. Contact Noelle for more information.

Call our office anytime at (616)365-9009.

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Matthew 9:37-38

Prayer & Praises…

Pray with us…

Pray for our kids attending camp this summer.

Pray for safety while on the road… We put in a lot of hours driving during camp season.

Pray for the children and families that will be impacted by the message of Jesus Christ.

Pray fro the children and families that will be impacted by the message of Jesus Christ.

Pray for UFM staff and volunteers, that we will have energy needed to do the work God has put before us, and that we continue to seek Him first in all things.

We Praise God…

For the opportunity to reflect Christ in our neighborhood.

For the many glimpses of God a work in the lives of our families!

For the new partnerships we’re cultivating with area churches.

For every one of our donors! “For you have been partners in spreading the Good News about Christ…” Philippians 1:5

For our many volunteers who faithfully serve each week.


“How Beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'”

Isaiah 52:7


How You Can Help…

As we look forward, there are a number of initiatives UFM needs to undertake. Here are tw to begin wth…

First, UFM has been conducting Super Saturday events for the past 16 years in one form or another. We have seen students grow up in the ministry. As they go off to college they often drop out and come back discouraged and frustrated. They are having trouble adjusting to college life and culture. We would like to hire a part-time staff member who can mentor our college students, especially through the transition years. To accomplish this important task we need to raise $25,000.

Second, our server and network crashed and died recently and we had to function without email or important files for nearly 3 weeks. Our email has now been restored, and we were able to retrieve most of our files, but we are in desperate need of some technology upgrades. Our computers are still running Windows XP, which is no longer supported. We need $6,000 for hardware and software upgrades. Technology upgrades do not change lives directly, but they are necessary to stay productive.

Please prayerfully consider making a financial commitment to support the initiatives listed above. If you would like to discuss these further or for more information, email Rob or call our office at (616)365-9009.


Partner with UFM…

As a Prayer Partner. Pray daily for the work God is doing through Urban Family Ministries here in Grand Rapids

As a Financial Partner. Have you considered partnering with us as a regular monthly supporter? Or how about sponsoring one of our programs for one year?

New ways to donate: 1) We now offer automatic monthly withdrawals from your bank account that you can change or stop at any time. Just download and print a form and mail, fax, or email it back to the office. 2) You can also donate online from our secure website using Paypal (you don’t have to be registered with Paypal to use it). Your regular monthly support enables us to continue to strengthen families and change lives.

Help support UFM by doing your online shipping through eScript, which offers links to hundreds of name-brand store websites. Go to to register or sign in and ship. eScript will donate from 2% to 16% to UFM based on your purchase.

As a Volunteer… be the hands and feet of Jesus right in your own city! There are many diffeent opportunities to volunteer a UFM. Give us a call at (616)365-9009 or check out our website at

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”

Philemon 1:7

“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

Psalm 115:1