The Urban Lab experience was an unexpected highlight of my time as a summer staff for Christian Direction.
As a pastor’s kid and a person who has been involved in ministry at the leadership level for many years, I came into this position feeling as though I had a strong grasp on what urban ministry would look like. I understood my role as a Communications Agent to be a storyteller, a sort-of journalist, who’s main responsibility was to document and share the various experiences of stakeholders throughout the ministry community. I was excited to learn in detail about the innovative initiatives being led, but I hadn’t considered that to fully grasp the impact of this organisation, I would need to be immersed in the theological heart behind it.
That was the beauty of the Urban Lab. Each week, myself and the other summer staff would meet and were encouraged to challenge our preconceptions of what it meant to be a healthy urban practitioner. My personal favourite topic discussed the importance of moving from a mindset of Rivalry to one of Peace-making.
As a student of psychology, I am well aware of the power of a mindset. The way in which we choose to engage with the world is directly dictated by the lens with which we choose to see the world. If we see our environment as one of competition and scarcity, we will interact with others in an oppressive and offensive way. If we see our environment as one of harmony and abundance, we will interact with others in a way that creates and holds space for everything that we bring to the table. This is heightened in the ministry context.
Our group shared about the personal challenges that we might encounter as we try to make this mental shift. We considered how difficult it is to put aside our own fears and insecurities and invite others into our space. We concluded that the only way to maintain this posture is to remember that the mandate of Jesus is to establish true, redemptive justice that connects us back to Him. I am still grappling with the internal work that I need to do to reflect this posture every single day and feeling immense gratitude for the teaching of the Urban Lab that allowed me to grow in this area.
Ultimately, I came into this position prepared to be a storyteller and look through the eyes of others for brief moments at a time. The teaching within the Urban Lab encouraged me to pause, to reflect and to encounter Jesus in these moments. I intend to keep adjusting my mindset, by considering my interactions with others across the urban landscape as opportunities to establish peace. I hope that I can tell stories with a new angle, one that demonstrates the power of a peace-seeking mindset.
-Written by Victoria, Summer Communications Agent