Innovation-Focused Urban Ministry Immersions
2022-23: Wesley Theological Seminary has long been a place that has fostered innovation, both within the classroom and beyond. For nearly 10 years, Wesley’s Community Engagement Institute has had a “fellows” program that has allowed students to create and implement unique community-based projects with regular teaching, mentoring, and collegial support over the course of six semesters. With the help of our HUB Grant, the Community Engagement Institute (CEI) Fellows Program is transitioning into a Community Engagement Master’s Specialization, which will allow us to reach more students across more degree programs.
Through this new specialization we will be able to equip M.Div. and M.A. students with the opportunity to pursue community engagement and spiritual entrepreneurship within urban churches and communities through course work and immersions. Students will engage faith-based community leaders and their churches who are partnering with others in their community to engage in innovative community revitalization and transformation. Exploring the practice of ministry in the context of distinctly different urban settings will provide students with the chance to engage in critical conversations with skilled urban ministry pastors and laypersons who are deeply committed to practicing a human-centered approach to ministry. It will expand their thinking about what it means to create the beloved community and enhance their ability as ministers to foster the well-being of all God’s people.
The Strengthening Pastoral Formation for Ministry in the City initiative involves seminaries, theological institutions, and churches and intends to help communities and institutions explore and assess their own urban context and church life; gain clarity about their mission and programmatic offerings; and strengthen and support the design and implementation of plans to address key challenges and opportunities for pastoral formation and flourishing congregations in urban settings.