You might be an urban missionary if…

  1. You’ve participated in a single praise and worship session that included songs by Hillsong, Kirk Franklin, Chris Tomlin, and Lecrae
  2. One normal conversation with believers may include topics such as “The New Jim Crow,” Kendrick Lamar, newly released demographics and statistics on your local community, John Piper, the D-Low Shuffle, and who makes the best “red” kool-aid
  3. You’ve been cussed out by people that you’ve served…numerous timescuss out
  4. You’ve attended training on how to stop a fight in a Christian program that you’re involved in….and have had to use that training
  5. Your circle consists of “ex” everythings (drug dealers, fighters, robbers, prostitutes, murderers, etc)
  6. You know your local drug dealers and gang members by name
  7. You’ve had a local drug dealer or gang member tell you to stay inside at a specific time because they know you’re “a good guy/girl” and something is about to go down
  8. You’ve had a local drug dealer or gang member over for a meal
  9. You know that inviting someone to have a meal with you is just a means to minister to them in ways they didn’t see coming13220213
  10. You speak/understand English, broken English, Ebonics, broken Spanish, patois, and more
  11. You’ve stayed at a stranger’s house while out of town simply because someone told you that they were a solid believer
  12. “Fundraising” is a normal part of your life and livelihood
  13. You know multiple millionaires (and maybe billionaires) probably because they help to support you emotionally, spiritually, and financially
  14. Excessive tattoos and piercings on believers don’t startle you anymore
  15. You or a friend has a “116” tattoo11sixvideo
  16. When attending a black tie event you rotate the same two or three dressy outfits (mainly because your life is spent in street clothes…even at church)
  17. You’ve heard someone curse while praying
  18. You love the Lord, but even unbelievers know not to try youthug life
  19. You or your friends have switched professions just because there was a realization that another profession (cops, lawyers, teachers, judges, etc) needed more believers
  20. You’ve traveled the country and world doing ministry, and you were pretty much broke the entire time
  21. You don’t buy nice things anymore because you know that some kid that you’re mentoring will probably damage it
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  22. You have a roommate for accountability, not because you can’t pay your own bills
  23. You can break down the difference between discipleship and evangelism at the drop of the dime
  24. Hermeneutics and exegesis are everyday terms for you
  25. Bible studies can happen at ANY given moment between you and your friends…and anyone else
  26. You know what tumbleweave is…  
  27. Your non-minority friends are “woke”
  28. You know how unjust the justice system truly is
  29. You’re not distracted by a black woman ferociously banging the top of her head during a church service…and you know what that meanspat-yo-weave-o
  30. You’ve learned urban gardening because your community is a food desert
  31. You have a list of things to educate (warn) your suburban friends about when they come to visit you
  32. You stopped going to the club years ago (or never did), but you still know EVERY line dance there isdlow
  33. You understand the joy of living in community and having family that isn’t even blood related
  34. Your kids think that they have 10 aunties and 12 uncles.. You don’t have any siblings at all.smiling-diverse-group_0
  35. You’ve wanted to quit ministry on numerous occasions, but then someone you’re discipling shows you that your work is not in vain
  36. You really know what it means to plant seed, water, and have God give the increase
  37. You’ve received increase even in areas where you haven’t planted
  38. You’ve seen God work miracles time and time and time again
  39. You understand what it means to live by God’s daily bread…and you’ve come to enjoy it
  40. You’ve had the pleasure of seeing someone with a heart as hard as rock, be softened by God and transformed into a new person
  41. Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 12.18.08 AM

Keep in mind that my experience doing urban ministry is largely limited to the Chicago area. Feel free to add more points in the comment section.