In a time when Churches are exploring new ways of expressing mission, we can look to intentional Church experiments such as UrbanMission in Pomona as a guide. The seven-year-old congregation was launched with the vision of having a nonprofit as a mirrored partner to grow along side. This month, the organization known as UrbanMission Community Partners will introduce itself to the world as Community Partners 4 Innovation, featuring resources for urban farming, restorative justice, and community wellness. CP4I focuses on the core words “Transform, Restore, Empower and Be Well.” While CP4I is no longer directly affiliated with UrbanMission, the DNA of this congregation is clearly visible in this unique nonprofit they helped birth.
Anytime we hold an experiment, be it in science or Church, we need to look and see what we have learned. UrbanMission has much to teach us about the potential Churches hold to impact a community. When mission comes first, a community of service and care can grow and evolve into something beautiful.
This model has allowed members of the community to partner with UrbanMission to imagine and create new ministries. Neighbors become partners and Church becomes ingrained in the community in organic ways. The model also teaches us that ministries evolve and grow. This model allows Churches to create and nurture ministry, then let God transform it into something new and launch it into the world.
Rev. Al Lopez explains, “The vision of Urban Mission was to be a different kind of Church. We wanted to make a difference for neighbors, but also be shaped by our community. We wanted mission to be shared. We can see that vision at work in the growth of UrbanMission Community Partners into Community Partners 4 Innovation.”
Dan Oliver, Chair of the Board at CP4I, explains the deep connection, "Community Partners 4 Innovation began as a vision of service from a people of faith. We are endowed with their prayers and shaped by their commitment to justice. While we grow in new ways, we trust that new ministries will grow out of UrbanMission. While we are the first, I suspect we are not the last mission that UrbanMission will launch into the world."
In a time when Churches are exploring new ways to be Church, we give thanks for the growth of UrbanMission as a congregation. We also give thanks for their gift of Community Partners 4 Innovation as an organization that will continue to work a just world for all.
For more on how each is growing, check out their websites and see God’s people at work!
UrbanMission Church: www.umpomona.org/
Community Partners 4 Innovation: www.CP4i.org