Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sunday Rewind: The Dedmons

The Dedmon family hanging out with us downtown.

On Sunday we Dedmons (Steve, Tonya, Emily-8 and Sam-4) went down to help serve with Urban Purpose.  All of the last week we had been on a vacation in Disney World and this was a good opportunity for us to be able to contrast for the kids where we had just been with how the people at Urban Purpose live.

As soon as we got there Sam took over the cooler and was handing out water bottles like a champ, with Tonya and Emily assisting.  Steve and Seth Clark met a guy who had a bag of aluminum cans and talked with him while he ate.  His story was pretty typical of what you hear from a lot of folks down there: needs work, moves around town staying at different places, etc.  I was impressed that this man was trying to do whatever he could to make some money by picking up aluminum cans — he can sell them for $0.70/lb right now, and it takes about 30 12-oz cans to make a pound. He said he used to sell plasma but due to the cuts on his arm they had rejected him until he heals. We got to pray with him, and his main request was that he find some work, and that his mom would be able to locate his ID.

Steve and Seth Clark spending some time with Nicholas.

As we were leaving, Sam and Steve went over and visited with the guy and his 5 dogs.

On the way home we talked with the kids about the people at the meal.  Someone had pointed out to Emily that some of the people lived in an abandoned building close by, and she asked if they “had lights there?”.  When she realized they didn’t have any lights, it sort of sunk in that these people would not be going to Disney World like we did.

It was an enlightening day for our children and an honor to serve with Urban Purpose, and we’ll be back soon!

The Dedmons

 

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Volunteer Spotlight: Jim Cummings

Jim Cummings (left) & Jim McFarland at our Sunday meal.

Name: Jim Cummings

Family: wife Jennifer, daughter Claire (18), son Daniel (22)

Occupation: Jeweler

Favorite Musician/Band: John Fogerty (this week)

Favorite Restaurant: Yankee Pizza

Favorite Book: Hunger Games

How long have you been serving with Urban Purpose? Almost a year

What do you feel like is unique about the ministry? The ministry is always looking for new ways to help the homeless. Meeting people where their needs are and working to get them off the street.

What has God taught you through serving with Urban Purpose? Only by God’s grace am I saved from the same fate as these homeless people.

How long have you lived in Birmingham? Since 1958

You’ve been a Birmingham resident for a long time and seen the landscape of downtown change over the years. How do you feel like Urban Purpose can help make a difference in our city? Urban purpose is providing food and clothing to the cities homeless, building relationships with these people, and witnessing to them. Our ministry brings hope to people going through hard times.

Check out some of our other Volunteer Spotlights below and see how people just like you are getting plugged in to Urban Purpose and following Jesus’ command to care for the poor and broken in our midst!

Chris Dyson

Barbara Patton

Curt Martin

Scott & Joelle Akridge

Rob & Ginny Bensinger


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Did You Know?

According to a 2005 study, Birmingham has a homeless population of 2,929.

29% are considered chronically homeless.

Chronically homeless individuals are those that have been homeless for over a year and have a serious medical, mental, or substance abuse issues.

These people are right here in our backyard. While there’s a great need for facilities and programs to help with these issues, without people willing to invest in their lives and model Christ for them on a consistent basis, their chances of success are small.

We want you to join us in investing in our city for the sake of the gospel!

Visit our website for more info about how you can get involved: For the gospel, For Birmingham!

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Sunday Rewind by Jennifer Taylor…

Jennifer (far left) and some of our lady volunteers after a Sunday meal.

Yesterday was a beautiful day to be outside and serving in downtown Birmingham. I didn’t know what to expect when we got there because it was so pretty. Some of the men I had met before downtown had told me that people like to walk around and go other places when the weather is nice. But when we arrived, we saw that a large crowd of people were already in line waiting. I tried to count them as I walked from my car to Jim’s truck but I lost count somewhere around 45 and I hadn’t even counted half of the people in line yet.

The meal was provided by one of SMBC’s Sunday school classes and it consisted of various forms of pasta including lasagna, spaghetti, and macaroni and cheese. I was carrying a garbage bag and I had many people tell me how great it was as they threw away their trash. One man told me, “That pasta is it!” Not being sure what he meant I asked, “It was good?” and he confirmed, “YES, it was! Thank you!”

You never know what to expect when you get downtown as far as the crowd goes but when the weather is as beautiful as it was yesterday it’s nice to think so many people downtown would choose to spend the afternoon with Urban Purpose. You might be surprised to see how many of the people stick around to chat as well. As long as someone wants to talk, Urban Purpose stays to listen.

You met all kinds of people when you are serving downtown.  Sometimes they are frustrating, sometimes they break your heart, sometimes they make you smile, and sometimes they even make your day. But this is what I know, whoever I meet; Jesus paid the same price for that person as he did for me. Everyone matters. Everyone has value. And, everyone needs a chance to know that.

Yesterday was a great day downtown.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Rob & Ginny Bensinger

There’s no way we could do what we do without the team of committed volunteers God has surrounded us with. We love taking the time on here to introduce you to the people involved in the ministry and show that there is a way for everyone to jump and be a part of what God is doing throughout Birmingham. Rob and Ginny have been involved in the ministry for a while and are both a huge part of what goes on each Sunday as well everything that takes place through the week. Here’s a little bit of their story and perspective…
Names: Rob & Ginny Bensinger

Rob (right) hanging out with some of our friends downtown.

Occupation:
Rob – Private Banking at BBVA Compass
Ginny – Nurse (RN) at Children’s Hospital
Kids?: First one on the way.  Due date is 10/4
Where did y’all meet?:  Shades Mountain Baptist Church
How long have you been married?: 4 years
Favorite Movie:
Rob – Shawshank Redemption
Ginny – Any Harry Potter movie
Favorite Restaurant:
Rob – Can’t pinpoint it to just one.  It depends on my mood
Ginny – Taziki’s
How long have you been involved in Urban Purpose?:
Rob – Since August of 2010
Ginny – Since December 2011
What do you think is unique about Urban Purpose?:
Ginny – It’s about building relationships while allowing those we help to take initiative in their recovery/life improvement.
Rob – Urban Purpose takes a holistic approach to recovery.  Not just drug and alcohol recovery but life recovery.  They are responsive to however God leads them to help the poor and homeless of Birmingham.
Why is being involved in the ministry a priority for y’all?:
We are called to a life lived under the Lordship of Jesus.  Under the direct command of Jesus we are to be “servants of all”.  This can and should be lived out in our daily lives, but we find added importance for the poor when Jesus gives testimony of his Messiahship to John the Baptists disciples by saying that “the poor have good news preached to them.”  Jesus identified his very ministry, in part, with how the poor were treated.  Through Urban Purpose we have found new understanding and appreciation for what Jesus said regarding the poor and pray that all those that Urban Purpose comes in contact with will come to know and live out the freedom brought forth through submission to Jesus.

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Seeing It Gave Me A New Perspective…

Our Sunday meals are great ways for people to get plugged into Urban Purpose. Seeing what happens on Monday-Saturday with Urban Purpose gave Jordan a whole new perspective on what God is doing through the ministry.

Seeing all that goes on lead him and his wife to want to financially support Urban Purpose on a monthly basis. Right now we’re in the process of looking for 150 monthly donors. This won’t be the end of our fundraising needs, but it will be a huge step in the process as we sponsor people into recovery, find employment opportunities and housing, and continue the counseling and discipleship processes.

Please take some time to pray about being 1 of the 150. Signing up is quick through our secure Pay Pal tab: Be 1 of the 150!

Thanks so much for your prayers and support.

Jim & Mark

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Social Justice vs. Evangelism?

“Social Justice” has been a hot topic and buzzword for the last few years. Evangelism has long been something very important to Evangelical Christians. So, how do these things relate to one another? Is doing social justice “good” if there’s not an emphasis on sharing the gospel? Can you really evangelize the poor, needy, and broken without caring for the their physical needs? Is one more important than the other? Should one come before the other? Which one?

A few weeks ago RELEVANT Magazine had a great article on this issue that you can read here: Social Justice vs. Evangelism.

We’d love for you to take a second and check out the article and then share with us a little bit about your thoughts on the issue.

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