In order to better understand the lives of urban youth and adjust our expectations - we have to see the world from their point of view.  While you may not agree with all of the choices, a huge part of urban youth ministry is leave the comforts of our world and get into theirs!  Here are some simple ideas of how you can get into the world of urban youth:

Go to their mall/where they shop – Clothing and music are often very important cultural influences in the lives of urban youth.  Spending time understanding how their music effects their clothing choices or vice versa will help you understand a very important element of their life.  Finding out what they like and why they like it will mean a lot in your relationship even if you disagree with some of their choices in these categories.

Go to their corner store – The corner store is slice of life in the urban neighborhood.  You can learn a lot about community when you know the people who frequent the corner store and understand what and how they buy the items there.  This is also a great place to meet new kids as many youth come in and out all day to buy a gallon of milk for their mom or a bag of chips and a pop.

Go to their community center – The local community center can help you understand how adults are already investing in the lives of the youth in your neighborhood.  You will be able to meet new youth, see what activities are available to youth or support the community basketball team.  It would be a good idea when you first visit a community center to ask to speak to an adult in charge, introduce yourself and ask their permission to visit the community center. 

Go to their school – Sometimes the families of urban youth are disengaged with their education.  If you make a point to attend school functions:  talent shows, dances, concerts, games, and even guidance counselor meetings, you can show your support to the teen in a significant way.

Bottom line, make sure when you spend time with urban youth; you spend a lot of time doing what they want to do. You might really want to do a bible study with the urban youth or talk about the serious issues in their life or really get to mentor them.  You’ve heard the old adage “They’ve got to know that you care before they care what you know.”  It’s so true!  So, what do they want to do?  Paint nails?  Go to mall?  Play video games?  Listen to music?  Bake cookies?  Especially, during the first years of building a loving relationship with urban youth – you have to do those things too to communicate your love and to deeply understand their world.

What about you?  Where is the best spot you have found to spend time in the lives of urban youth?

comments powered by Disqus
Enter your search term and press the return key on your keyboard.