Monthly Archives: October 2013

What Does an Urban Purpose Day Look Like? Live Blog 10/24/13

We are often asked what a “typical” Urban Purpose day looks like. Most people are familiar with the Sunday meal part of the ministry, but when it comes to the remaining six days in the week, what exactly are Jim, Mark and EG up to? Each day looks different for us so it’s tough to define a typical day. We’ve come to find it much simpler to Live Blog and give you a glimpse at what UP does throughout the week.

We’re grateful for your interest in what we do and continually covet your prayers as we stand up alongside Birmingham’s broken and needy seven days a week. Some of what we do on a daily basis is pretty sensitive stuff for the person we’re working with, so we’ll have to be careful about how much detail we give. We hope you enjoy keeping up with us throughout the day and we hope it sheds some light on what exactly we do in a “typical” day. We hope that keeping up with us today will encourage you guys to be in prayer for the many broken and hurting in our city.

We’ll blog as we go today, so be checking back for updates!

8:45am- I (Mark) am heading to pick up a guy that we met downtown to take him to the Social Security office. He is trying to get a new card as he is applying for jobs. We’ve met with him a couple of times and while he has a number of struggles, he has a lot of potential. Pray for fruitful conversations as I talk to him about what it is going to take to get him back on his feet.

9:00am- Jim is meeting with our contractor at the office to check on progress and make a plan as construction moves forward.

9:30am- I (EG) am taking one of the ladies we work with to counseling this morning. These weekly counseling visits are a vital part of what we do. Our prayer is to see total healing in the lives of those we work with and Christian counseling and psychological care are a huge part of that process.

9:35am- Picking up the guy this morning fell through. He claims he tried to call me (Mark) all morning, but his phone was messing up. No way to know if that’s true or not, but this is something we deal with regularly. The people we work with didn’t get in these spots by being the best communicators or planners. It’s frustrating, but it’s part of the process. Hoping for an opportunity to get together with him down the road.

10:15am- We’re all meeting up at Starbucks for a while to knock out some admin work. Our Boston Butt fundraiser is tomorrow and Saturday so we’re getting everything in place for that as well as catching up on emails. There’s always a balance we have to strike between ministry and administrative work.


10:30am Jim’s office meeting went well this morning. Framing should wrap up this week and we hope to start hanging drywall and complete painting soon. We are projected to start moving in as scheduled after November 1.


11:30am- We are finished with counseling for the day. We’re taking the same lady to get a random drug test and we’re hopeful that she’s still clean.

12:15pm- A lot of times we get the most honesty from folks in the parking lot of the drug testing lab. People will stick to their guns the whole way there, but pulling into that parking lot brings out the confessions. Fortunately, today we didn’t get a parking lot confessional, so we feel good about the results.

12:30pm- Between appointments, errands and meeting with people, we spend a good bit of our time in the truck. Thanks, Jim for the “transportation photo.”


2:15pm- Just got off the phone with our graphic designer talking about our year-end promotional piece. Pretty excited about how it’s going to turn out and show some awesome glimpses of what God’s done this year.

2:45pm- Mark and Jim are headed to Flex Digital to pick up the promotional pieces for the Boston Butt sale this weekend. I (EG) went to work on the admin side of Boston Butt to be sure everything is lined up and ready to go. Everything is coming together and we’re looking forward to a great fundraiser!

3:45pm- Before we finished up for the day, I (Mark) prepped weekend medication that we deliver to someone everyday. This is an accountability measure that we put into place to help prevent drug abuse. Regulating medication for the people we work with helps to remove the temptation to misuse meds, sell them, or overdose. Much of what we do involves daily accountability in the small areas.

4:00pm- We wrapped up a little early today because it’s going to be a busy weekend with the Boston Butt Sale. Mark is headed out tonight to help bottle and label the Urban Purpose BBQ Sauce that we’ll be selling this weekend. It will be available Friday and Saturday at the Boston Butt pick up for $5 a bottle. You can also purchase new t-shirts or preorder a hoodie at pickup. If you missed the post on t-shirts, check it out here.

Thanks for keeping up with us today! We hope it shed some good light on what day-to-day ministry looks like for us. Ministry isn’t always huge or flashy; it’s more about the relationships and daily decisions. We just do life alongside people and are privileged to do what we do. It is in the everyday, seemingly mundane tasks that God uses us where we are to make a difference for him. Whether going to counseling, the grocery store or work, our hope and prayer is that we will minister and love well in the name of Jesus. We hope today has been a helpful look into Urban Purpose!


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T-Shirt Give Away!

Our new Urban Purpose t-shirts and hoodies are in!

Enter to win a new Urban Purpose t-shirt by following us on Twitter or retweeting us. You will be entered every time you retweet. We will draw the winner and give away a t-shirt on Friday, November 1.

Click here to check out our Twitter page.


To purchase your t-shirt or to pre-order a hoodie, email

T-shirts can also be purchased this weekend at the Boston Butt Sale on Friday from 2:00-6:30pm and Saturday from 7:30-11:30am. We will be at the Pavilion at Shades Mountain Baptist Church. 


Long sleeved t-shirts: $20

Hooded Sweatshirt: $35

Here are our new long sleeved t-shirts…


Red front


Red back


Tan front


Tan back

We’re excited about our new Urban Purpose hoodies! You can pre-order yours today. Thanks to our two hoodie models for providing this selfie…


 Email to order your t-shirt or hoodie today! 


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Volunteer Spotlight: Jason & Kim Tingle

ImageJason and Kim with their children, Abby and Alex.

Name: Jason & Kim Tingle

Where are y’all from? I am from Tuscaloosa and Kim is from Birmingham.

Where did y’all meet and how long have you been married?  We met when we were both attending the University of Alabama, and while I was working for the Tuscaloosa Police Department. A coworker of mine who was a neighbor of Kim’s set us up on a blind date.  We have been married for 14 years and have two children.

Occupation: Kim stays at home with Alex and Abby and I am an attorney.

How did y’all learn about Urban Purpose? Mark and Michelle Jenkins joined our Sunday School class and asked for prayers about the formation of the ministry.

How are y’all involved in Urban Purpose?

Jason: I’ve had the opportunity to provide legal counsel and representation to some of Urban Purpose’s clients on an as needed basis.  Specifically, I have been able to work very closely with two of their clients who faced significant family law issues representing them in local courts.

Kim: I had the privilege of helping to introduce a young lady to Urban Purpose whom I had become involved with through an outreach of our Sunday School class.  I have had the opportunity to accompany and mentor her as she has met with Mark and Jim and progressed through the Urban Purpose program.  Also, since we are still in Mark’s Sunday School class Jason and I also have the ongoing opportunity to hear about and pray for specific needs of the ministry and the people it is working with.

What has God taught you through your involvement with Urban Purpose? 

Kim: Through my involvement with Urban Purpose I feel like I have learned to trust in God’s provision because I have not only experienced it in my own life but I have seen it first hand in the life of my friend as she has worked with the ministry. Whether it was a place to live when she was living out of her car, a job when she didn’t have one or clothing for her children when they needed it; God has continued to provide.

Jason: Through my involvement with Urban Purpose God has revealed that there is a great need in our own community for people to see the love of Christ shown through relational ministry.  God has also taught me that He can use any one of us for His purpose and to meet the needs of others . . . I mean if He can use a lawyer, He can use anyone!

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This year has been a struggle, but God is doing some amazing things

Check out this video to hear about some of the good things God has been doing in Urban Purpose here lately….








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Did You Know: 1 in 5 people suffer from mental illness?

Last week, Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears brought attention to Mental Health week by wearing green cleats in an NFL game. Marshall was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder a few years back and is using his platform in the NFL to raise awareness for many mental illnesses that are often overlooked. Mental illness is not something that we stop and think about on a regular basis, yet it is becoming more and more common. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, one in every five people suffer from some sort of mental illness.


One Roof is a homeless care coordination program in Central Alabama. In 2012, they went to the streets of Birmingham in an attempt to survey the homeless in the Birmingham metro area. According to, One Roof surveyed 698 unsheltered homeless and 1,009 homeless that are currently at a shelter.  Surveys show that 717 of those were severely mentally ill.

A Needs Assessment of the Homeless of Birmingham and Jefferson County gave the following statistics on the mental health of the homeless in Birmingham and Jefferson Counties:

33%  have been professionally diagnosed with a mental illness

50% report having some problem with mental illness

21% report having an episode that resulted in treatment in a mental hospital

36% report having considered suicide

31% report having attempted suicide 

Mental illness is a growing problem within the homeless population and it is something that we at Urban Purpose are facing more and more frequently with the people we encounter. Many people find themselves on the streets of Birmingham due to the repercussions of mental illness. Common illnesses are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, anxiety and aggression. It is easy to toss around statistics and disorders but it is important to remember that Birmingham is not exempt from these issues. There is a person and a story attached to each statistic and these difficult battles are being faced daily right here in our city.


Bear’s Brandon Marshall wears green shoes for Mental Health Awareness Week in win over NY Giants 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

1 in 5 Americans Suffers from Mental Illness

A Snapshot of the Birmingham area’s homeless population

A Need’s Assessment of the Homeless of Birmingham and Jefferson County 

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Sunday Rewind: Briarwood 99 Boys Gold

Thanks to Briarwood’s 99 Boys Gold soccer team for providing our Sunday meal yesterday!

Here’s a word from the team’s coach, David Puckett, on why they chose to serve with Urban Purpose and what their experience was like downtown…



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October 14, 2013 · 11:21 am

Overwhelmed with Thanksgiving: EG’s Update

A couple of weeks ago we introduced our new staff member, Emily Grace. If you missed her introduction, you can check it out here. We asked EG to write her thoughts out about her first few weeks with Urban Purpose. Here’s what she had to say…

Every time I sit down to write about my first few weeks with Urban Purpose, I end up overwhelmed with thanksgiving by how very good our God is.  I wish I could tell you the details of the story that led me to Urban Purpose, but trust me that every single detail was molding me and preparing me for such a time as this.  Every bit of the story reflects how good God is and how faithful he has been to me despite my moments of faithlessness (2 Timothy 2:13).

I keep coming back to the word thankful.  When you start spending a lot of time with homeless people or just those whose lives look so very different from your own, it is an instant reality check and dose of gratitude for all the good in your life. I’m grateful for the reminders to praise the Lord for his faithfulness in my story and for putting such amazing family and friends in my life to walk with me when my story is messy.  I’m thankful for the difficult moments in my life that prepared me for things I deal with today. I’m thankful for the moments that didn’t make sense then that make perfect sense now as they line up with God’s good plan for me. I’m so thankful for the body of Christ that is so evident as so many people have encouraged me and welcomed me into this ministry. I am thankful for my time with Jim and Mark and the opportunity to do ministry with them.

Most of all, I am so very thankful to be in a position to love on these women that Urban Purpose walks alongside. Conversation after conversation clearly portrays the same idea: they have no idea how loved and valued they are in Christ. It is easy to go to Sunday school and discuss the concept of “dead in sin but alive in Christ” or “living in darkness,” but when it comes down to it, you get a much clearer understanding of that as you sit across from someone whose life is so actively dark that they truly wouldn’t know “light” if it hit them in the face; nor would they know love if they saw it.

Above all else, the very purpose for my thanks is that I am so reminded in each conversation and with each person that I am a sinner saved by grace and that whether we’re talking about pride or drug addiction, all sin is the same at the cross. My sins put Jesus on the cross just as much as any addiction, abuse or poor choice. I am unbelievably humbled, honored, and grateful that God can use me with all my mistakes and imperfections to love on these women. It continually floors me that my Savior can take the pieces of me, refine them to be Christ-like and put them back together in a way that can be used for his glory. I cannot put into words how excited I am to get to be a part of the gospel story in these peoples’ lives and to walk alongside them, absolutely no different than they. Many of these women have no concept of love and I am so expectant to see God work in their hearts to teach them about his perfect, holy, saving love. I am truly humbled to be where I am. There is no doubt in my mind that this is exactly where I am supposed to be and I am looking forward to the stories that will be told of God’s continued faithfulness and provision to us. I ask that you pray alongside me for continued humility and that I will truly, selflessly love these women and get out of the way so that Christ’s love may shine through me so that all things said and done will be for his glory.

1 Timothy 1: 15-17

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

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