The prevailing model of urban mission has been one of dependence on Outsiders who seemingly bring needed resources–money, education, connections to outside communities. Has this model brought about more harm than good? Is there a better way forward for ministry in the inner city? And what is the proper role for Outsiders in a such a vision?
The hope of most urban missionaries is to see people living in urban poverty become leaders in their own community. Once equipped with education and opportunity, instead of moving out of town, we encourage them to stay and make a difference. However, these leaders are often considered a failure by their own community if they don’t relocate. Incarnational ministers receive accolades for their “sacrifice” of living in urban poverty, but community leaders do not.