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Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)

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This paper documents the activities of the leadership team of Central United Methodist Church (CUMC) in its outreach mission to University Homes. University Homes is a public-owned housing project located in the heart of the Atlanta University Center community.

The primary methodology was the corporate use of an intercessory prayer book, Forty Days for Five People by G. Ross Freeman.

The thesis is that spirituality consisting of contemplation and prayer with a foundation of Christian Education are significant tools of empowerment---especially for persons with no previous history of mission outreach---which allow Christians to become committed and involved in order to undertake a coordinated effort of missions to poor and underprivileged persons living in public housing. Also, church leaders and other laity in an affluent middle class church with no previous history of mission involvement with public housing can be equipped spiritually through the vehicle of prayer to undertake a vital mission project. Therefore, the church will begin impacting its community by adhering to its mission statement to impact the community by inviting children, youth and adults to Christ.

The leaders were challenged to spend time reflecting and praying for designated people of the community. After this phase, these persons voluntarily visited those for whom they had been interceding in order to openly communicate what the Spirit of Cod had revealed to the leadership, and to lay a foundation in order to build meaningful relationships.

This project will focus on the dynamics and praxis of the local church's attempt to participate in vital missions in a public housing project, and the role of the associate pastor as mediator/facilitator between the public housing community and the church.

The purpose of this study is to examine the reasons inner-city churches have problems engaging in missions to local public housing residents. This project will also present a model with specific alternatives for inner-city churches to become better neighbors in missions to their local communities.

Chapter I outlines the overall purpose for the study, presenting the ministry setting and the associate pastor's role in developing strategies for missions praxis. Chapter II focuses on the project in action and the phases of this outreach ministry. Chapter III recounts the history of missions, highlights the relationship of the black church to its community, and reviews the literature on urban mission models for inner-city churches. Chapter IV provides insight into the implications of this project through discussions of spirituality and Christian Education. Chapter V concludes with evaluations, project summary, and reflections.

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