I love hearing about what people are doing around the world, especially in youth ministry. Twitter has been a great way to get to know so many new people (follow me here).
Colleen works with Metro Kidz Baltimore, a youth ministry within Charm City Church in inner-city Baltimore, Maryland whose mission is to share the love of Jesus Christ by serving and providing for various needs within the community.
Here are my questions for her:
- How did you first get started in Inner City Missions?
Being from Kansas, I had never had much exposure to the inner city, I grew up in a family where money was tight, but I never had to go hungry or go without the things I needed, so when I moved to the Baltimore-Washington Corridor it was eye-opening to say the least to experience inner city. The drugs, crime, homelessness, prostitution etc. it all just happens here and no one really bats an eye. Where I grew up these things would be considered eyesores.
My first real exposure to the inner city was through working with the homeless. I met a man on Rt. 40 in Catonsville, MD who had just been dealt a rough hand, I passed him everyday and knew I needed to do something for him, so I went to the party store and bought seven party bags, yeah you know the ones, with big bright balloons, stars etc. and I filled them with food, personal hygiene items and notes of encouragement. Finally on the last day God really spoke to my heart.
I had no idea what to do, what to say, how to even approach this man, I mean I am girl from Kansas, stuck in this big scary world out here…so I pulled my car into a parking lot and sat in my car for an hour, I cried out to the Lord and begged him to give me the words, to lead me and he did. I found myself sitting in a diner with this man for hours. He introduced me to the homeless population, and I completely submerged myself these people that others found hard to love I loved more than anything in the world.
Two summers later I found myself in inner city Tampa, working with the Tampa Bay Dream Center, it was there that God laid it on my heart that I was supposed to completely surrender my life to missions. Two summers later I found myself spending nearly a month in Los Angeles (www.dreamcenter.org) and then finally in the summer of 2007 I found Charm City Church in Baltimore and God finally provided me with a place to serve, a calling and a path (www.metrokidzbaltimore.org).
- What is the biggest challenge to working with inner city kids?
I don’t think there is just one big challenge to working with inner city kids, I think everyday provides a new challenge, most of the kids that we work with don’t know the meaning of true unconditional love and it’s hard for them to open up and allow you to love them, or to love you back. The other challenge is you never know what you’re going to walk into, you never know if one of your kids or one of their family members lost their life overnight, you never know if one of them has fallen into the gang and drug war that we are consistently fighting.
- What has been the highlight of your ministry?
One of the biggest highlights of my ministry is success in our kids, watching some of these kids go from hard kids from the street to leaders within our ministry. As I write this I can think of five kids within the last month that have been given leadership roles within our Wednesday night Kidz/Youth program and to sit back and think about where a few of them were a year ago, makes my heart dance, and smile grace my face. I’ve gotten to watch kids come to Christ, kids be delivered from the city and kids develop into responsible loving and lovable young men and women. And at the end of a hard night to hear a kid say, “I love you Miss Colleen, thanks for helping me,” makes every hard day/night worth it.
- How can we pray for you?
Right now, we have two major prayer requests one is for a miracle to happen in our neighborhood over the past few weeks the crime rate has gone up significantly there are nightly gun battles on the corner, the dealers are out in full force, murders are happening left and right and people are afraid to even come out of their homes.
The other is for a financial miracle, right now we’re at a financial and church building crossroads and are really praying to God for a miracle.
I’d love to hear from other people involved in ministry. If you’d like to be featured here, please contact me.