URBAN HARVEST MINISTRIES IS GROWING
Our ministry was born in the South Bronx – one of the toughest neighborhoods on earth. From that outreach, built from people changed right outside our door, Urban Harvest learned what works in the inner city.
New York is a very exciting place. With a metro population of 20 million, it is the largest city in the US and one of the largest in the world. Practically every culture and language are represented, make these words very true: If you can reach New York City, you can reach the world.
During our years in New York City, we witnessed the transformation first hand. God taught us methods of outreach that are relevant and that bring change. Now we must carry this same energy and determination to a city in dire need of Jesus: Detroit. Detroit has a rich history of industrialization, arts, sports, and diversity, but it has been torn by economic tragedy and racial division and is now in a deep recession. The poorest city in our nation is hungry for hope.
Evangelism in these cities has brought hundreds of souls to Christ in the recent years. We are reaching into New York City and Detroit to touch lives with the transforming power of the gospel. And it doesn’t end here – we’re also taking our effective ministry methods to other cities and other nations, where we are empowering leader to reach they own people with passion and with power.
Jesus said, “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 9:38
When we arrived in this community in 1992, we saw that people were in desperate need of dignity, self-worth, and independence. The Ministry Methods we developed over the years increased the individual’s capacity to pursue his/her destiny and live a productive life in the context of faith. We did not seek to employ short-term methods that would place a “band-aid” on persistent problems, but to engage in long-term solutions one person and one family at a time.
God has brought powerful change. Playgrounds, streets corners and parks formerly controlled by drug dealers have been returned to the people. Drug dealers once controlling the streets are working jobs, raising their children, and learning to be responsible fathers. Housing conditions have improved. Employment has increased. More than 95% of the students involved in programs at The Harvest Center have graduated high school on time and then have proceeded to college. This is a major accomplishment in a community where more than 85% of students drop out of high school.
A new sense of hope has come to this community, and it has come because God has raised up people from this community in Christ-centered faith. Now they not only walk in freedom, peace and joy on the road to their destinies, but they are leading efforts to bring change in this community. They are now a significant part of the hope for the future. They are now a part of real change. They are living with dignity and integrity, equipped as godly leaders effecting change in their own community.
With discipleship focusing on faith, family responsibility, moral values, education and work ethic, generational cycles are broken. A sense of God-designed destiny is instilled in the hearts of people, and real change can come.
Much has been written about Detroit: The poorest city in America. The highest misery index in America. Detroit owns every statistic on poverty, unemployment, foreclosures, high school dropout rates, infant mortality, and violent crime. Time Magazine’s Special Edition was titled The Tragedy of Detroit.
In the book Detroit: An American Autopsy. The writer states, “Having led us on the way up, Detroit now seems to be leading us on the way down. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation’s poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age – mass production, blue-collar jobs, and automobiles – Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, dropouts, and foreclosures … redemption is thin on the ground in this ghost of a city.”
We don’t see Detroit as this author and so many others see this city. We see Detroit as a place where God is giving His church the opportunity to arise and re-write the history of this city. The Hope for the City strategy is empowering leaders, establishing prayer initiatives, implementing strategic methods of outreach, networking churches and businesses in the suburbs and inner city, and equipping of people for effective, relevant, life changing action among the urban poor. The Hope for the City Network is witnessing the tangible results of these Ministry Methods and the rebirth of hope in communities where our partner churches are located.
This isn’t just talk, it’s action. Love in action. And it’s working where nothing else would work. We invite you to join us in Detroit for Hope For The City or one of our Short Term Missions trips to the South Bronx and see the difference your life can make in the lives of others when you follow Jesus to where the needs are.
· Over 1,000 unreached people groups live in the US, the third largest number in the world, behind India (#1) and China (#2).
· As of 2010, 13.5% of the US population is foreign born.
· North America hosts 50 million first generation immigrants.
Among these nations are Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, and many others religions.
Consider this: 69 of the least-reached people groups in the world are represented in New York City. Just outside the doors of The Harvest Center in the South Bronx are people from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and French-speaking West African nations. Among them is a people group with no known churches or Christians among them.
And Detroit? Nearly 300,000 Arabs and around 100,000 Russians and Eastern Europeans live there. Over 5,000 ethnic Hmong who fled Communism in Laos and Vietnam live there. In some communities in Detroit, over 45% are foreign born.
You can see that no longer do we have to travel to go into all the world; all the world is coming right to our neighborhoods and they can become the most effective missions force in history.
Our goals are to reach them with the Gospel, train them in effective ministry, listen to them about how to reach their own people, and send them into their own people group in their countries of origin. Many times these are places we cannot go, but where they can go with freedom to bring personal and national transformation to the world through their own witness!
Urban Harvest Ministries is actively engaged in reaching the nations that God has brought to our cities through English classes, church plants, leadership empowerment and other forms of relevant outreach.
We’re only beginning to scratch the surface. It’s an opportunity that needs prayer and partners to work with us in these exciting new urban harvests.