How One Woman Was Trained to Lead Urban Ministry and Serve Skid Row

The journey from prison to a church-based seminary to being trained to lead urban ministry. 

It takes a unique person — some would say an anointed person — to possess the skills needed to plant a church that lovingly gathers individuals from Skid Row every single week.

That anointed person is Jennifer, who met Jesus while in prison. 

Jennifer would not consider herself particularly special; she is simply a person who cannot be stopped from telling the hurting and homeless about the love of Christ. 

Having received a World Impact brochure detailing the Church-Based Seminary class while she was in prison, Jennifer tucked it into the rails of her cell bed. She was determined to attend upon release, and that brochure represented hope and a plan. She wanted to be trained to lead an urban ministry.

From Prison to Church Planter

Once she was outside of the prison walls, getting to class was more than a typical care ride from home to school for Jennifer. She had to take two buses and two trains and walk a good distance to make it to each gathering. 

But, empowered to share the love of Christ with the thousands of people living on Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row, Jennifer was determined to attend the World Impact Church-Based Seminary class and acquire the skills necessary to accomplish God’s mission. 

Those skills led her to plant a church in the parking lot of a mechanic shop on 6th Street. The congregation consists of men and women on Skid Row — many of whom have lived there for decades. They are drawn in by Jennifer’s care, encouragement, empowerment, and — of course — the message of Christ’s love and grace. 

Everyone who has become a regular attender is given opportunities to serve in various capacities, like singing, setting up chairs, preaching, or serving coffee. It’s a beautiful thing to see the worshippers reminded of their gifts and abilities, given to them to serve the Body. 

Learn more: Evaluating Theological Education in Prison

Through trauma healing resources, peace and hope await for individuals who have experienced trauma.

Impact of Church-Based Seminary Training

What’s the message that Jennifer makes sure to communicate to each attendee? It’s the same message that every one of us needs to hear:

God wants the broken, the addicted, and the rejected. 

Which one of us doesn’t fall under at least one of those descriptions? We are all broken, and many of us can relate to rejections or addictions. And yet, God wants us just as we are. 

Through Jennifer’s ministry, these men and women are experiencing something many have never even considered possible: being welcomed into a loving church family. 

This church is a family and an experience of hope that has become unfamiliar to many. Jennifer says:

“Our end goal is to cast our crowns under Jesus Christ’s throne.”

Because Jennifer was trained on how to lead an urban ministry and answer the call to lead, lives are being changed.

Global impact: Church-Based Seminary in London

Training Can Empower Leaders in Urban Ministry

The training Jennifer received through the World Impact Church-Based Seminary provided her with the knowledge, resources, and confidence to sustain a church in the highly impoverished neighborhood of Skid Row. 

Urban workers like Jennifer need training and resources — the kind we provide in our church-based seminaries and other programs — to lead successful ministries and churches in urban settings. 

The time to help those programs is now. 

Will you give to World Impact’s work and support leaders building healthy churches and helping individuals, families, and neighborhoods flourish?

Your generosity supports ministries like Church-Based Seminary, as well as Urban Church Planting, Prison Ministry, and Trauma Healing to urban leaders like Jennifer in the U.S. and around the world.


If you’ve been considering partnering with us as a donor, we encourage you to take the final steps now and help us end 2022 strong.

  1. Donate to support affordable, world-class ministry training for urban pastors and ministry leaders.
  2. Empower pastors to build healthy churches in every community in poverty.
  3. See more churches reach the urban poor with the Gospel.

Will you partner with us today? Your donation will be doubled! This will multiply your impact on communities of poverty here and around the world.

Giving is easy and secure. Simply head to our donation page on our website and give generously today. Together, let’s make a difference in communities of poverty.