Monthly Archives: February 2014

Join Our Story: Sunday Meals

Urban Purpose goes downtown every Sunday afternoon to serve a meal to the homeless and needy. We feed anywhere from 50-100 people on any given Sunday. The Sunday meal is a starting point for many relationships and we’re grateful for the opportunity to love on people while meeting some basic needs. Whether it’s providing the meal or going downtown with us to serve, the Sunday meal is a significant part of what Urban Purpose does and it would not be possible without the faithful involvement of people like you. Here is what a couple of our volunteers have to say about their involvement on Sunday afternoons–


“It was such a joy that our Sunday school class had the opportunity to prepare and serve food to the homeless downtown with Urban Purpose.  This was a way for our class to grow together while helping serve a great need in our city. Several class members expressed how the trip changed their view of the homeless from a cloudy statistic to a name and a face – an individual, someone to pray for. I count it such a blessing to be involved in this ministry and would highly encourage anyone (small group, Sunday school, individual, etc.) to go and experience it first hand, because this is an awesome way to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our own city.” -Elizabeth Vann


“If I’m being honest, I’d say it can be really hard for kids and youth to relate to the people downtown, but I also think that is why it’s so important to go and be involved—it forces them out of their comfort zones and exposes them to needs that they might have otherwise missed. It’s important to show both my kids and my students that everything isn’t perfect where we live and that ministry doesn’t always have to be deep and intense. Ministry really can be as simple as handing someone a bottle of water or just talking to them about their day or what’s going on in their life. It’s just about showing someone that you care about them and love them. You don’t have to be a super Christian to go and minster downtown. Not only is serving and loving the needy and broken biblical, but it can also be life-changing.” -Scott Heath

Click here to read more of Scott’s story.

Interested in getting involved in Urban Purpose in this way? We’d love to have you join us downtown!

Click here for more information on the Sunday meal.

Click here to sign up to provide a Sunday meal. 


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Join Our Story: Giving

Jim Foyt has been a faithful friend, advisor, and investor in Urban Purpose over the years and we are so grateful for his insight and wisdom in ministry and business. Jim recently shared his heart on giving and we asked him to put his thoughts into words for a blog post. Here’s what Jim had to say on the importance of giving–


“Making a decision to financially support an organization can be difficult.  Fortunately, God has provided us with his guidance in Matthew chapter 25, Malachi 3 and other scriptures.  I have found that these financial decisions are much less stressful when I view my resources as belonging to God rather than being mine.  As His custodian of the funds in my possession, I have never regretted giving money to God’s work and I have never missed those funds once given.  I have not lacked for food, clothing or other basic needs.  But, I have received joy and satisfaction from being obedient to using God’s funds to allow others to have food and clothing that they need.  And most importantly, our funds can allow those called to His work to share Christ, deliver food and clothing and meet other needs for “the least of these.”  With all this in mind, I have made the easy decision to support Urban Purpose.  Will you please join me?”

Urban Purpose could not function without the faithful financial support of people like you. Will you consider giving to Urban Purpose today? You can click the link below to give a $25, $50 or $75 donation or a gift of your choosing today. Your donation goes to meet needs like temporary housing, medical care, counseling, and employment opportunities. Will you join our story by giving?


Click here to make a donation online.

Checks can be mailed to the following address:

Urban Purpose

PO Box 660373

Vestavia, AL 35266

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Join Our Story: On Abundance

Janie Drake is a student at the University of Alabama and has been connected with Urban Purpose in various ways over the years. Most recently, Janie donated some clothes to us but instead of simply donating, Janie also took the time to share the way God has been working in her life. We are both challenged and encouraged by Janie’s story and are excited that God has laid Urban Purpose on Janie’s heart as an outlet for how God has been working. We asked Janie to again share her story and we hope you’ll take the time to read her insight on how anyone can give from their abundance. Giving is not about how big a check a person can write or about means or method of giving. Giving is about giving what we are able from the abundance the Lord has blessed each of us with. Here’s what Janie had to say–

“As a college student working a part-time job, when it comes to giving, there usually isn’t a lot of extra money lying around. Although this may be the case for many young people, this does not discount our call as Believers to give sacrificially to God’s kingdom. Jesus made this clear in Mark 12:43-44 when a poor widow gave to the church out of her poverty.  Abraham also gives us the example of sacrificial giving when he offered his only son to be sacrificed to the Lord (Genesis 22).


Growing up at Shades Mountain Baptist, I heard these stories multiple times, but never really understood my part of the story when it comes to giving. As a 21-year-old girl who loves fashion, I often find myself quick to spend any extra money I have on myself. Anytime I go to Target to “just get groceries,” I find myself mindlessly wandering in the clothes section – and to my defense, I promise those cardigans always call my name. It’s like I am in a battle between my flesh and spirit whenever I find myself needlessly justifying why I “need” this pretty new scarf when I know in the back of my mind that I have enough scarfs to dress the whole tribe of Israel.  Why battle over something as silly as a new scarf? Why this tension between selfishly taking for myself and sacrificially giving to others? I quickly remember our adversary who wants to kill, steal and destroy us – especially when it comes to our bank accounts. The enemy knows that when the Church comes together and considers others before themselves (as Christ did for us) the Gospel will multiply like wildfire. God was adding to the church in Acts because “no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common…there was not a needy person among them” (Acts 4:32,34).

For about a year now the Lord has been breaking my heart over my spending habits. God has reminded me over and over again how He has sacrificially given me all things through His Son. Since I have received this gift of Salvation, how can I not give to others out of the abundance of grace that has been granted to me? This truth has led me to repentance and God has renewed my heart through showing me that I, even as a college student, can sacrificially give. God placed Urban Purpose on my heart as an avenue for me to learn how to do this. I went through my closet and took out clothes that I didn’t need. I knew Urban Purpose would carefully consider which women in their ministry needed these clothes. I hoped this small token would eventually help these women see Jesus more clearly. I am thankful for our redeeming God who loves to take our weak hearts and use them to bless His people who are in need. I am also thankful that giving does not look the same for everyone, but through leveraging what God has given us, we can eternally impact people in our city. I see God using Urban Purpose as He used the church in Acts. Urban Purpose sees the hurt and brokenness of people and they are willing to do whatever it takes to provide for physical needs in order to heal spiritual brokenness in Birmingham.”

Let us know if you would like to invest in Urban Purpose through giving. Our clients often have clothing and hygiene needs, as well as furniture and home furnishing needs as we invest in temporary and permanent housing. Contact Emily Grace if you have items you would like to donate. You can reach EG by phone or email at or 205-317-3811

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Join Our Story: Life-on-Life Ministry pt. 2

Maegan Keel, a wife and mother to two precious little girls, has poured much of her heart into investing in one of our Urban Purpose ladies. We asked Maegan to write about her experience as an Urban Purpose mentor and we hope you’ll take the time to read the second part of her story…

(If you missed the first part of Maegan’s story, you can check it out here)

Those first weeks we met Kim and I discussed the parenting challenges, budgeting, and dreams of going to college. I took her to consignment sales to find clothing for her kids, we met for coffee and discussed couponing, and I gently encouraged her to prepare healthier meals for kids.

There was nothing extraordinary about the way Kim and I spent time together. I loved on her in the same way that women in our church do on a daily basis. She brought her kids over for dinner. Kim and I would cook while my husband would entertain the kiddos. I brought her meals when she was sick. We met for coffee. I shared recipes and would always let her know when I found a good deal on diapers. We met at the park and chatted on a bench while our kids played. We talked about our kids, our relationships, our families, the TV shows we liked, our shared love for sweets, and our desire to be great moms. Kim and I lived life together.

It’s amazing how God can use people to change our lives. For the past 7 years I have been deeply involved with college ministry. College students are in my home constantly and some of the greatest joys of my life have been my college girls. A friend of mine was consoling me about the move my family is making; she encouraged me by saying a major university is nearby so I could remain in college ministry. My response? Kim has changed me. I don’t have a desire to jump into college ministry when we move. I’m already praying that God will provide for me a woman like me, a young mom who I can pour my life into. I’m asking Him to give me someone who is struggling, who feels alone, who needs rescuing. I’m asking God for this woman so that I can love her and show her the Rescuer.

God answered my prayers by giving me Kim. It is a joy to be her friend and to be a part of her life. She has changed me deeply, and because of her I know the way that I look at ministry and discipleship will be forever changed. 


Being a mentor looks different in each relationship but truly is as simple as sharing in life together. Think this might be a way for you to plug into our story? We ask that you pray about it and see where God leads. If you are interested in mentoring and investing in one of Urban Purpose’s clients then we would love to discuss it with you and pray through that process with you. Contact Emily Grace if you are interested and would like to talk more about being in a mentoring relationship. You can reach EG by phone or email at or 205-317-3811.


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Join Our Story: Life-on-Life Ministry

There are specific goals in place for each Urban Purpose client. Moving forward toward these goals requires sacrifice and leaving past decisions, negative influences and influencers behind. It is particularly critical that our clients are surrounded by positive influences and godly encouragement as they strive to move forward to complete wellness and stability. Relationships are essential and whether we realize it or not, relationships mold us.

Mark, Jim, and I build relationships with each of our clients but it is truly when people like you step in to invest time and pour your lives into a person that we truly see a great impact made. Life-on-life relationship is the kind of ministry that challenges and changes lives on a daily basis.

Maegan Keel, a wife and mother to two precious little girls, has poured much of her heart into investing in one of our Urban Purpose ladies. We asked Maegan to write about her experience as an Urban Purpose mentor and we hope you’ll take the time to read the story of how she invested and was so blessed in return…

Our family is blessed to call the Jenkins family close friends. We have been involved with Urban Purpose with our prayers and our encouragement, but beyond that, we had not found a way to get involved that worked for our stage in life. With limited resources, we couldn’t give like our hearts wished, and with two toddlers at home, Sunday afternoons weren’t ideal.

Mark began to talk to me about the possibility of discipling a woman through Urban Purpose. As a young mother of two, Kim (name changed) and I have the challenge of parenting little ones to bond us. Mark knew that Kim struggled to parent her children well, not having grown up in a healthy home. Mark was hoping I could get involved in her life to help teach her how to parent her children, show them love, and ultimately to live the love of Jesus in front of her. My husband and I discussed the realities a relationship like this would mean for our family, we weighed the costs, prayed, and told Mark we were excited about the possibility of living life with Kim.

For months I asked God to instantly unite Kim and I in friendship, and He was faithful to give me what I asked. Mark had warned me multiple times that Kim could be distant, almost unattached in her interactions with the UP staff. The first time Kim and I met we laughed, shared our stories, and bonded over a big plate of fudge. We were instant friends…

Check back on Thursday to continue reading Maegan’s story! 


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Join Our Story: Serving as the Body of Christ

God has given each and every one of us different gifts, strengths, and weaknesses. When we work together using our gifts and talents we are truly a picture of the body of Christ and this is vital in the gospel story. We all bring such different elements to the table and we would love to have you plug into our ministry using your gifting. We are always open to new partnerships that give you the opportunity to serve using your strengths and passions.


Are you handy when it comes to fixing cars? Many of our clients have vehicle repairs and routine maintenance but can’t afford mechanic fees. Maybe the Lord has gifted you with budgeting or crunching numbers? You could help an Urban Purpose client form a budget or navigate a debt situation. Do you enjoy things like knitting or sewing? A lady from the church spends time knitting and praying over scarves for us to give out downtown. Whether it’s fixing things or knitting scarves, we want to give you the opportunity to use your talents to bless others and plug into our story.

Check out these stories for a glimpse at volunteer involvement from three families that are truly using their abilities and time to serve the Lord through Urban Purpose:

Jared Morgan, Financial Sales Advisor

Ashley Hill, Stay-at-home Wife and Mom

Jason Tingle, Attorney

Contact Emily Grace if you are interested in joining our story by using your gifts and abilities. We’d love to talk to you more about how you can use your strengths to get involved with us! You can reach EG by phone or email at or 205-317-3811.

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Join Our Story: Odd Jobs & Shuttles

You really never know what an Urban Purpose day is going to hold. There are many days when there is more to be done than Mark, Jim or I can accomplish on our own. When this happens, we call on people like you! Interested in joining our story by serving with us? Read on! 


Providing a ride for a client is a huge need you can meet. Most of our clients don’t have their own daily transportation and volunteers like you can commit to take someone either to or from work one or two days a week based on schedule and availability. Giving a ride meets a huge need and is an easy way to build a relationship or show someone you care just by giving a few minutes of your time. Providing a ride is a big stress reliever for our clients and also frees up the Urban Purpose team to focus on other daily tasks.

We also keep a list of people that we call when a client needs to run errands or go to a job interview. This face time with our clients is valuable time invested and it truly makes an impact, even if it just seems like a few minutes in Wal Mart together. Providing a ride is an easy way that both men and women can serve by investing pockets of free time in other people’s lives.  

In addition to driving clients around, we have volunteers that help us out with ministry needs and odd jobs. Sometimes this looks like going and purchasing hats and gloves for people downtown and other days it’s running errands to help us restock Sunday meal supplies. This is an easy way to serve that truly helps us out! 

Contact Emily Grace if you are interested in joining our story by providing a ride or if you would like us to put your name on our odd-job/errands list. You can reach EG by phone or email at or 205-317-3811. 

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