One of the things we like to do on the blog is introduce you to some of our incredible volunteers. God has blessed us so much with an army of His people that are committed to sharing and living out the gospel for the needy in our city. This week we would like you to meet Barbara Patton, one of our key volunteers that plays a huge role in what we do each week.
Barbara (far right) and friends manning the serving table.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Mobile, AL
Q: How long have you lived in Birmingham?
A: 24 years
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: Environmental, Health & Safety Management
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Brio Tuscan Grille
Q: What are your favorite TV shows?
A: NCIS, Dancing with the Stars
Q: What’s your favorite thing to listen to in the car?
A: Radio – WDJC
Q: What’s your favorite place to visit?
A: I used to say the beach, but now it’s anyplace family and/or friends can get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life for some fun and fellowship
Q: How long have you been going downtown with Urban Purpose?
A: About a year, since the end of January 2011.
Q: How did you first get involved with Urban Purpose?
A: One Sunday a friend found out that no one had committed to providing the Urban Purpose meal for the following week. She brought the need to a group of us that meet for Sunday lunch on a regular basis. We all agreed that we could take on and meet that need. After some quick planning, a big trip to the store and part of a Saturday in the kitchen, we had a hot meal for 90. I agreed to go downtown and help serve the food we had prepared and learn a little bit more about this ministry we had all been hearing about. I was impressed by what I saw and heard on so many levels: I admired the ministry leaders who saw a need, felt God’s call and stepped up to serve, organize and lead; I was humbled by the teenagers involved who so visibly and actively live and share their faith with grace and assurance (I taught some of these kids years ago and now find that they and their friends have much to teach me!); my heart was touched by the people we served, each had their own story and were trying to cope with life’s struggles in their own way.
Q: Why do you make it a priority to go downtown each week?
A: Jesus gave us clear instruction in Matthew 25:31-46 and Acts 1:8 regarding who are are to serve and where we are to go. I’ve been involved in ministry activities having impact in various parts of the U.S. and internationally, and have participated in local ministries but only on episodic basis. I had been looking for a way to serve in the metro Birmingham area (my Jerusalem) on an intentional, ongoing, consistent basis. That first Sunday, God opened my eyes and helped me put a face on the need that is all around us. Yes, the people we served had physical needs that we could temporarily meet with food and water, but they have a far greater need that can only be met by God. Urban Purpose works to not just temporarily meet physical needs, but to build relationships by showing the love of Christ to the people we serve and minster with, sharing the good news of gospel, and walking along side those who seek to change their lives. God is using Urban Purpose to make a difference in the lives of those served and those serving. He is allowing me to join Him where He is working and impact lives for His glory. In the process He is performing a work in me, changing the focus not just of my eyes, but of my heart. What a privilege and a joy!
We had another great Sunday downtown yesterday. The weather was beautiful and we had about about 70 folks come through the line for a meal. We also had over 60 volunteers join us this week! It’s always awesome to see God’s people rise up and get involved in caring for the broken and needy.
Our meal this week was sponsored by the 7th grade 11:00 Sunday School class. Scott and Joelle Akridge are the directors for that class and have been involved in Urban Purpose for a long time. They brought over 30 students with them to serve the meal, pass out snack bags, and hang out with our homeless friends downtown. Our Sunday meals are a great way for groups and classes to plug in together and get involved serving those in need.
As we go downtown each week we are always reminded of how much the men and women on the streets need our prayers. It’s important, however, for us to always remember that everyone is in need of prayer, not just those who look like they’re struggling on the outside. So as God puts people in our path and lays them on our hearts, it’s important for us to pause and take the time to pray.
We hope everyone has an awesome week!
– Jim & Mark
Every Friday we’ll take turns sharing a little bit about what God is teaching us through our work with Urban Purpose. Thanks for taking the time to watch. We hope everyone has a great weekend. See you Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm!
-Jim & Mark
Here’s a link to our monthly E-Newsletter for the month of January.
January 2012 Ministry Update
These are three spots where homeless men and women live here in Birmingham. They’re all about a 7-8 minute drive from the Over The Mountain area.
Can you imagine if these were your living conditions?
What if your upbringing, circumstances, and bad decisions lead you to this place?
What would your outlook be each morning when you woke up? How would you feel each night when you went to sleep? Empty? Hopeless? Discouraged? Worthless?
There are countless reasons that men and women find themselves living in these conditions. Some of them are their fault. Some of them aren’t.
Regardless of the reasons, we’re called to reach out to them, to love them, and to show them Jesus.
A warm meal, a sleeping bag, or a coat can help. But by themselves, none of those things will make an impact. It’s the long term relationships that make a difference. It’s people willing to model Jesus on a consistent basis and show these men and women that there’s a better way to live that can have a lasting impact.
Please prayerfully consider joining us in our push for 150 monthly donors in 2012.
We currently have people donating anywhere from $25 to several hundred dollars per month. Your donation will help us continue to meet needs, sponsor people into recovery, find housing and careers, and mentor and disciple the broken.
Signing up for a monthly donation takes just minutes. Click here to sign up through our website or to learn more about how to set up a recurring payment through your online banking.
Jim & Mark
We had a great time downtown yesterday and were able to serve and hangout with about 75 homeless men and women. It was awesome to have a new volunteer, Jared Smith (picture to the left), join us for the afternoon. Jared is on staff at Redstone Church here in Birmingham. He learned about Urban Purpose a few weeks ago and wanted to check things out for himself. It’s always great to have new volunteers from different churches in the Birmingham area join us and minister to the needy here in our city.
Jared gave us a nice shoutout on Twitter yesterday after he got back: “Thankful for organizations like @urbanpurpose making an impact in the lives of the needy in Birmingham. Not just with words. Help them out.”
Several guys from the meal mentioned calling us this week to talk further about how we can help them out. Pray that these men would be bold enough to take the first step in seeking help with the issues they face.
We hope everyone has a great week!