Things they don’t tell you about urban ministry

Today was our first confirmation class of the season. It went well. We had a large class, the kids were in the right spirit, and it went really well. I was happy with the whole thing.

But there is something they don’t tell you about urban ministry that they really should. My internship site tries to keep its doors open as much as possible. It is a rarity in urban ministry to have a church with open doors. So, as the entire class sat in the front of the sanctuary, teaching, learning, and growing, several gentlemen and women from the neighborhood, or who were just passing through, entered the sanctuary. They would sit, pray, spend the time they need with their thoughts and with God, and then go about their way. This is normal at my internship site. A gentlemen came in like every other. He sat in the very back pew, next to a parent of one of the confirmation kids who came early. He sat there for maybe thirty minutes. As we neared the end of confirmation, wrapping up our talk about the first commandment and a nice derail about whether God is a hypocrite for being a jealous God, seven uniformed policemen walk through the door.

My internship supervisor quickly got up and met the officers. The officers approached the gentlemen in the back row and questioned him. It took only a moment. They confirmed what they need to and escort him out of the building to arrest him. The cops told my supervisor that the guy appears to have stole an iPhone and they tracked him through the GPS on the phone to the church. The parent of the confirmation kid tells my supervisor that the gentlemen was sitting and waiting to talk to the pastor (though my supervisor never saw this gentlemen before). The kids, of course, were curious and everyone was watching and going “what’s going on?” It was wild. As the gentlemen was escorted out of the building, one of our students saw the undercover cops who also showed up randomly to help out. She turned to me and said “okay, this is now my high for the week.”

Yes it was kid. Yes it was.