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Navigating the Systems of the City

Students need to have an understanding of how the systems of the city affect its residents. The focus will be on gaining a working knowledge of the political, judicial, health, religious, educational and economic systems within the city. This will include field experience in visiting city hall, the court system, the welfare office, local schools, local hospitals and healthcare facilities. The goal is for students to have the ability to navigate and leverage the resources of the city’s systems for maximum impact in people’s lives. Consideration will be given as to how the church can work in collaboration with the other systems God has ordained for the city.

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Models of Urban Ministry

In order to understand how to best reach people in future ministry endeavors students need to have an understanding of how God is working in the city through various ministry strategies. In addition to learning the model of Urban Hope, students will participate in opportunities at other ministries and non-profit organizations in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Camden and New York City.

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Understanding and Adapting to Cultural Mores

Students must understand the cultural dynamics that serve as the basis for social relationships in a given society. The Puerto Rican and Dominican community in North Philadelphia will serve as the primary cultural lab for adapting ministry to culture. Attention will also be given to the customs of major cultural (China/Southeast Asia, India, Europe and the Middle East) and religious traditions (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Roman Catholicism) found in many urban areas through site visits to other neighborhoods.

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The Uniqueness of Evangelism and Discipleship in an Urban Setting

Students will learn principles for reaching an urban community for Christ. Specific attention will be given to reaching people at various age levels. Students will be given many opportunities to share Christ with people through interaction in the community and programs of the church. Students will gain a sense for the intensive nature of discipleship in the urban setting through real discipleship relationships.

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Crisis Counseling and Intervention

What do you do when someone comes to you in the middle of the night and they have nowhere to stay? What do you do when you hear gunshots or see a shooting in progress? How should you respond when someone overdoses and collapses in front of your door? What do you do when you see a fight in progress? What do you do when you hear about allegations of sexual or physical abuse? How do you help someone caught in the grips of addiction? What do you do when people have nothing to eat and they keep asking you for help? The preceding situations and many other common crises will be addressed and counsel will be given on how to respond.

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Ministry to Current Trends

Principles for reaching lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, and amoral people will be discussed and many opportunities will be given to apply learning through interactions in the community with these and other special needs groups. The “why” of these behaviors and the “how” of influencing these specific groups for Christ will be discussed. Real life interviews with people who have come out of these backgrounds will aid in the learning process. Students will see first-hand the power of the Gospel to change even some of the seemingly most difficult lives.

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Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Depression and Hopelessness

Students will learn strategies for really helping people out of the cycle of poverty. Attention will be given to addressing the need for urban workers to have an attitude of grace toward people who just need a fresh start. Students will develop an informed view of how people get into poverty through case studies and personal interviews. Strategies for addressing poverty will be taught in a holistic nature tying together the spiritual and physical needs

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The Drug Culture, Street Life and Addictions

A first-hand look at the culture of the street will be afforded to students since Urban Hope is located in a neighborhood riddled with drug sales and users. Students will gain an understanding of what life is like on the “drug corner” and why so many people are pulled into this destructive lifestyle. Strategies for helping addicts, ministering to the homeless and relating to drug dealers will be discussed and practiced.