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What are Urban Labs ?

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

Many young adults register for programs or short-term mission trips without having the chance to be protagonists in the formation process that they undergo.

Christian Direction wants to offer a formative experience including both practice and theory that engages young adults in their subsequent spiritual and missional journey. They will be the principal stakeholders in this process.

We want to be innovative as we add a spiritual formation component into the shaping of young urban leaders for active roles in Christian community development. This will lead to a generative process of rooting the entire summer experience in the formation of a sustainable theological framework for urban mission praxis.

When young people are treated as adults and empowered to become protagonists in their own spiritual formation, they become fully invested agents of change in the city. We want to explore what happens when young adults are empowered to become co-creators of their own formation. Will that process have a direct correlation to more significant impact on how they see themselves as Christians, as leaders, and as urban agents of change?

How do young adult leaders involved in their own formation understand and respond to the challenges of their community in an integrated, missional manner?

What would it look like if people as young as 17 were rooted in a sustainable theological undergirding for urban mission praxis?

The Summer Urban Lab will include practical experience in five different ministries of Christian Direction. Every other week, for two months, young adults will gather around themes to equip their head, hearts and hands. We will follow the Incarnational Training Framework (ITF) from Street Psalms as a guide but the young adults will choose their own questions to tackle every week. As a group, our discussion will be shaped by the paradigm shifts of the ITF such as: How the method (scarcity to abundance), Message (theory to practice) and Manner (rivalry to peacemaking) modeled for us in the life and ministry of Jesus can create Messengers who are free of fear and able to live into the art of loving our city into greatness. Finally, we will engage in vision trip experiences over the course of the summer mapping the hurt, hope and heart of our city.

We hope to learn two things: first, do the students view the city differently than the long time practitioners, and if so, how? Second, when young adults are empowered to become co-creators of their own formation, will they be more invested in the transformation of the city?

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