Urban Family Ministries to be the focus ministry in WCSG’s Fall Sharathon

91.3 WCSG is celebrating their 40th anniversary.  For a $40 monthly commitment to WCSG, they will give a portion of that gift to UFM in support of our Super Saturday kids church program.  The Sharathon will run October 29-November 1.

Teenagers Everywhere . . . .

When Urban Family Ministries began, our Super Saturday student populace capped at 5th grade.  But then as students “aged out”, they wanted to continue attending Super Saturday, a program designed for elementary aged students, so we let them.  Because we are about longevity in relationships it did not take long before we had 30+ teenagers attending Super Saturday.

For many years we didn’t know how best to serve the growing population of UFM teens. Praise God for fresh ideas, and passionate volunteers who’ve made our teen ministry possible.  Our Teen Boys Basketball and Bible Study began many years ago as an addendum to our Super Saturday program. The dramatic transformation of that program is astonishing. Our Teen Girls Bible Study was re-energized more than 3 years ago in an attempt to balance out opportunities offered for boys and girls.  And just 3 weeks ago, our Young Mens Ministry program kicked off on Friday nights, meeting right here in our ministry center.

Our teen ministry has blossomed! Students are given responsibilities at Super Saturday and opportunities other nights of the week to just “be” with their peers. We’ve brought our programs under the cohesive UFM mission and vision and are excited to celebrate all successes, both big and small, as we engage, equip and empower these young adults.

“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

Recent Happenings . . . .

Fun, Faith & Friends

Our Teen Girls Bible Study called Fun, Faith & Friends or “F3” got off to a slow start this fall, as our girls are very busy young women and are involved in many extracurricular activities.  We are thankful for Maisha’s new job at McDonald’s and for Deonna’s involvement in her school’s swim team.  We are back in the swing of things now.  This semester we have built a Bible study around a variety of songs that speak to matters of the heart, beauty, living big for God, watching our words, and other topics. We’ve had the opportunity to listen to some great music and have great discussions.

We’ve also been very active outside “these four walls.”  A few weeks ago our teen boys and girls joined up downtown to take in the sights and sounds of ArtPrize.  It was a blast watching them learn how to interact out of their “norm” of school and Super Saturday.  We were able to walk all around downtown Grand Rapids and one of our boys, Malik even took time to learn some sketching techniques from a local artist.

Last week the girls volunteered at Kids Food Basket, helping to portion apples into crates and pack sack lunches for area schools.  We have the opportunity to serve at Kids Food Basket every 6 weeks.  Our service night with these girls is a highlight of every quarter.

Teen Boys Basketball & Bible Study

It’s 6:40p.m. on a Thursday evening.  “Bring it in boys!” I scream at the top of my lungs.  The basketballs gradually stop bouncing as each boy responds with slightly delayed obedience and form a circle in the middle of the court.  “Anybody know why I called you boys?”  After a few hems and haws, someone stuttered, “Uh…because we’re not girls?” “Nope,” I answered.  “It’s because none of you are men….yet.”

That is precisely why this group of Urban Family Ministries volunteers and young men meet each Thursday.  It’s about basketball and fellowship, but more importantly, it’s about learning to become MEN of God.

Nearly every Thursday night throughout the school year, they meet at Calvary Church for Teen Boy’s Basketball and Bible Study, also known as “B3”.  Most of the boys are there to hoop with their friends, and some to dine on a piece of Little Caesar’s Pizza.  But, they’re all there because they want to grow, including our faithful volunteers, Luke, Katie, Ryan, Nick, Jack and Chris.

Fifteen minutes before they start their game, they discuss what it means to be men.  They use Scripture combined with stories from their own personal triumphs and failures to learn about sacrifice, reliance on God, and the importance of being a leader following after Christ. Leadership starts with right choices, and they are learning together how to be better men (and woman) of God.  Sometimes words fall on less than attentive ears.  Sometimes we get stories of small victories….such as one of our young men who told about someone who, in the process of starting a fight at school, had pushed him.  Instead of hitting back as he wanted, he kept walking and chose to let it rest.  It is exciting to know that God is planting seeds in each and every one of these boys’ hearts.  Each Thursday we till the soil, water the seeds, and pray fervently that they will blossom into the young men that God desires.

Friday Night Men’s Ministry

Welcome to Friday nights with the guys!  This Friday night hang-out offers a safe and fun atmosphere for Urban Family Ministries guys and their friends to come, hang out, play games, and chill.  Three weeks in and we’ve celebrated some successes.  The boys are learning initiative as they are required to find their own transportation to UFM. Chris and Ryan take the boys home due to the late hour, which gives additional time for connecting and strengthening relationships.  The guys take time each night to cook a meal together, eat, talk, laugh, joke, and have a blast!

We are so thankful for another opportunity to reach into the lives of these young men and walk alongside them as they journey into adulthood.

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”                                          Matthew 4:19

Christmas Shoppe

After a successful first year, we are doubly excited as we prepare for our second year of the Christmas Shoppe.  We will be setting up the store on our entire main floor with donated new, unwrapped items for our families to purchase.  We want to “Give the Gift of Dignity” by offering our families an opportunity to purchase gifts at a significantly reduced price, like 10-15% of the original/sticker price! No longer will they need to rely on the free handouts from organizations around the city.

How you can help . . . .

We are looking for volunteers to help our kids and parents shop in our Christmas Shoppe.  We would pair you with one person at a time where you would assist them with their selections and help them wrap their purchases.

On Saturday, December 14, our Super Saturday children ages 7 and up will have a chance to shop for members of their family.  Instead of receiving a gift from UFM as they have in years past, we will give them a $5 voucher to spend in the Christmas Shoppe.  We will set it up with special items priced just right for their shopping day.  This offers them a chance to be a giver this Christmas.

On the evening of December 14 and the afternoon of December 15, we will turn the store around and set it up with all the selections for our kids’ parents.  We can use your help during this turnaround time.  Shopping will be by appointment only during the day and some evenings Monday through Friday, December 16-20.  Give our office a call at 365-9009 or email Noelle to answer any questions.

Visit our website to learn more about the Christmas Shoppe and view a list of donation suggestions.  Drop off unwrapped donations to our office by December 4, to allow us enough time to price everything.  Thank You!

“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

How You Can Help . . . .

Volunteers Needed . . . .

  • Christmas Shoppe – Sign up to help our families shop & wrap their gift purchases December 16-20.  Help our Super Saturday children shop on December 14.
  • Driver Co-Pilots & Substitute Drivers – Ride along in a UFM van as co-pilot as we pick up students for Super Saturday or the Cornerstone Connection, or Teen Night.  We could really use you as a substitute driver.  Call our office for more information at 365-9009 or email Noelle.
  • Super Saturday – Come and hang out with our kids and mingle with a purpose.  It is held in the gym at Calvary Church. Note the new time: It runs from 3:30pm-5:00pm.  Contact our office to get signed up.
  • Facility Cleaning – We’re looking for someone that would have a couple of hours a week to come and do some light cleaning….vacuum, dust, bathrooms.  Clean at a time convenient for you.
  • Snow Plowing – Got a truck and a plow? Have time to plow our small parking lot before 9:00am?  Give us a call.

Contact Peggy at our office at 365-9009 if you would like to know more about volunteering.

Partner with UFM . . . .

  • As a Prayer Partner, pray daily for the work God is doing through Urban Family Ministries here in Grand Rapids.
  • Have you considered partnering with us as a regular monthly supporter?  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.  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 shopping through eScrip, which offers links to hundreds of name-brand store websites.  Go to www.escrip.com to register or sign in and shop. eScrip will donate from 2% to 16% to UFM based on your purchase.
  • Shop at Family Fare or D&W Fresh Markets during their Cash for Class event October 20-26 and November 17-23. Use your Yes card and the store will make a donation to Urban Family Ministries based on your purchase.  Be sure to link UFM to your Yes card as your selected non-profit.  Visit Spartan Stores website to learn more about Cash for Class.
  • As a Volunteer….be the hands and feet of Jesus right in your own city!

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”                                                                               1 Peter 4:10

Prayers & Praises . . . .

Pray With Us . . .

  • Pray for God’s guidance as we search for a new Executive Director.
  • Pray for safety on the road during all UFM programs.
  • Pray for the children and families that will be impacted by the message of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for UFM staff and volunteers, that we will have the energy needed to do the work God has put before us, and that we continue to seek Him first in all things.
  • Pray for the Lord’s direction as we desire to use this facility God has given us to more effectively minister to our urban neighbors.
  • Pray for us as we seek out grant and funding opportunities.

We Praise God . . .

  • For the opportunity to reflect Christ in our neighborhood.
  • 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.
  • For our partnerships with many area churches.

“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”                                                                                             Psalm 115:1