Urban Family Ministries began in the late 1990’s with a very simple goal…. to become involved in ministry to the poor, so that we could build relationships with our urban neighbors and be the presence of Jesus Christ, sharing his life-transforming hope, love and power.
Through a desire to understand the needs of urban children, and a love for Jesus Christ, UFM began by contacting a local urban elementary school and asking, “How can we help you?” The principal was full of suggestions…help on the playground, help our children with reading and math, and help the teachers in the classroom. It didn’t take long for relationships to begin and grow with the children and their teachers. Soon an after-school Bible Club was started that served 80% of the children at that school. This is where we can share “Jesus” with the children! The involvement at the school has given volunteers many opportunities to mentor these children. And through the children, we are reaching their families and their parents.
Urban Family Ministries soon began inviting a few children to church to “hang out” in the gym on Saturday nights, play some games, sing songs, and hear a Bible Story. No advertising…just the spirit of Jesus spreading the word.
Urban Family Ministries began working with kids and families in the neighborhood by placing a Christian couple, as a neighborhood plant, in a renovated crack house in a rough urban neighborhood. We got to know very well one of the families that lived across the street. Their early elementary-aged boys were some of the first kids to be part of Urban Family Ministries’ Super Saturday program. Though the family has since moved, Urban Family Ministries is still involved with these boys. The youngest three have graduated from a local Christian high school, and are living in Grand Rapids and giving back to the community. The oldest has graduated college with a business degree and serves on the UFM Board of Directors, The middle young man works at a local bank, has his realitor’s license and volunteers at Super Saturday. The youngest has graduated from the poice academy and is serving the city of Muskegon in that role while serving at a local high school in security. UFM’s third neighborhood plant has now purchased a home on that street so she can continue to show the love of Jesus in the neighborhood.
Urban Family Ministries was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2003. Today UFM is located in a two-story building in the heart of a tough urban neighborhood. Through several different programs, hundreds of children and their families are reached on a weekly basis. This is a testament to the effectiveness of UFM’s faithful volunteers numbering around 200, and its faithful financial support from individuals, churches, businesses and foundations.
Urban Family Ministries operates on a model which is very similar to Christ’s teaching model. You walk the streets, build redemptive relationships, identify needs and find creative ways to meet those needs while sharing God’s love and the Good News!