Unveiling The Path To Transformation: World Impact’s Mission In Los Angeles

Hope and healing through World Impact’s core programs in Los Angeles can transform communities and lives.

The city of Los Angeles is facing significant social issues that demand our attention. Did you know that over 1.4 million people, representing 14.2% of the population, live below the poverty line in LA? Additionally:

  • Over 60,000 people experience homelessness on any given night—and 15,000 of them are youth.
  • 1 in 6 children are food insecure.
  • 37% of food insecure adults in LA County have paying jobs.
  • Communities of color endure the weight of systemic racism daily.

The need for community transformation is urgent and undeniable. In this article, we will explore avenues for change and shed light on initiatives aimed at revitalizing the fabric of our beloved city—where true transformation awaits. 

Keep reading to explore the different ways World Impact is reaching LA, or use the table of contents below to navigate through them easily. 

A Vital Role for the Local Church

When individuals in under-resourced communities experience trauma, the local church has historically been a place of hope, providing a space for healing, restoration, and encouragement.

But, what if a community lacks a healthy church?

The urgent need for healing and restoration within numerous Los Angeles neighborhoods drives our unwavering commitment to plant healthy churches in communities of poverty—starting with the training and deploying of church leaders and pastors to establish those places of worship. 

Addressing the Training Gap

A staggering statistic fuels our dedication to training leaders: 

95% of today’s leaders lack formal training for pastoral ministry. 

With only 5 out of 100 individuals receiving proper training to build and develop a church in their local neighborhood, the scarcity of trained leaders raises significant concerns about the sustainability of healthy churches and the multiplication of disciples. 

Empowering Through Core Programs

To bridge the training gap, World Impact’s core programs have served as pathways to discipleship and leadership for thousands of men and women over the past 50 years. These initiatives are instrumental in equipping individuals for effective and healthy ministry for the Kingdom, laying the foundation for impactful community outreach.

Those programs include:

  • Church Planting
  • Church-based Seminary
  • Prison Ministry
  • Trauma Healing

The leaders who receive training through these programs play a pivotal role in reaching communities in need, particularly those impacted by poverty, where access to training is often limited or financially unattainable. It’s imperative that these men and women receive the necessary resources and support to establish thriving churches and contribute to the flourishing of their neighborhoods.

Reaching LA Neighborhoods

Amid the challenging landscape of under-resourced communities in Los Angeles, World Impact has been actively delivering hope and healing through impactful programs. Dive into these initiatives that are active in LA and discover how you can also make a difference. 

4 Programs Transforming Los Angeles Today

1. Church Planting

The Evangel School of Urban Church Planting focuses on training church planting teams to effectively reach impoverished urban neighborhoods like the ones we serve in Los Angeles. The classroom teaching and hands-on coaching equip leaders to share the gospel in under-resourced communities.

Graduates receive customized preparation tailored to the unique needs of urban church planting. A key component is learning the importance of building a solid support team. Leaders are trained to do everything as a team instead of alone, which can be a common pitfall among enthusiastic ministers. 

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A Contextualized Approach

The Evangel School of Urban Church Planting’s contextualized approach differentiates it from other ministry training programs. Students learn how to plant churches designed to flourish in the unique challenges of urban poverty. They carry this specialized knowledge with them, along with the tools to build a collaborative leadership team. Together, these things set up graduates for sustainable success.

2. Church-Based Seminary

World Impact’s Church-Based Seminary program trains pastors and leaders to:

  • Collaborate with local churches, organizations, or denominations to pinpoint emerging leaders
  • Set up training centers for education
  • Award certification upon successful completion
  • Support graduates as they spearhead revitalization and spiritual development in their communities

Leaders in under-resourced urban areas often lack access to the same caliber of theological education available in more affluent communities. Recognizing this gap, World Impact has instituted learning centers that offer a thorough theological and practical education tailored to equip emerging leaders for effective ministry in urban settings.

The Benefits of Church-based Seminaries

Pastor Bernard Emerson, who serves in an urban setting, described the benefit of church-based seminaries this way— 

“A lot of times, we find ourselves in trainings and seminars and conferences that don’t speak directly to our context. And what happens is we end up learning something that we either have to translate into our context or—to help an instructor find out and under who we are—we have to translate our context to them.”

The Church-Based Seminary program takes a unique approach to teaching by tailoring the entire curriculum to fit the needs of urban communities. Every lesson is designed with practical application, ensuring students have the knowledge and skills to positively impact their urban setting.

3.  Prison Ministry

At World Impact, we are committed to helping to restore and empower those who are behind bars. Our Prison Ministry program is designed to equip thousands of formerly incarcerated individuals for roles as church planters and ministers following their release.

Within correctional facilities, our prison ministry delivers comprehensive biblical education and urban ministry skills. After individuals have fulfilled their commitment to the judicial system, we facilitate the integration of formerly-incarcerated into local churches, providing ongoing discipleship and empowerment. These churches benefit from our specialized training and support to help these citizens re-enter society and also with their spiritual development.

Preparing Individuals for Leadership

Through this work, we are committed to creating a lasting impact in underserved urban communities by preparing individuals while they are still incarcerated and empowering churches for post-release ministry. From behind bars to their initial steps after re-entry, we stand with prisoners as they transition into influential spiritual leaders.

For example, from tragic loss to finding Christ behind bars, Abe’s story illustrates how God empowers people to advance His kingdom, regardless of their past.

4. Trauma Healing

In overlooked urban neighborhoods, trauma is a pervasive issue that hinders people from engaging with God. That’s why our church leaders in Los Angeles urgently need training in trauma healing.

Our Trauma Healing program, developed in partnership with American Bible Society, empowers urban ministry workers with the tools and knowledge to facilitate Bible-based healing groups. Graduates of the program earn a certification that enables them to lead their own groups, multiplying the positive impact.

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Trauma takes many forms – from abuse and violence to addiction, racism, incarceration, and displacement. Our leaders are equipped to create safe spaces where individuals can process their pain through Scripture and a supportive community. As wounds begin to heal, their relationship with God deepens and flourishes, and people are finally able to engage with God as barriers are removed.

But it doesn’t stop there. Equipped leaders become catalysts for change, starting a ripple effect of healing that flows through families, neighborhoods, and entire cities.

Empowering LA Leaders to Succeed

At World Impact, we believe in meeting leaders wherever they are on their journey. Our comprehensive training paths are designed to empower leaders from diverse backgrounds and callings to excel in ministry.

Every one of the programs is designed for the urban context to train church leaders to train others in their communities. 

It’s the support of our donors that makes this possible.

By equipping more leaders to answer their calling in Los Angeles, we are creating access to thriving churches that uplift and transform underprivileged communities. 

When you give to World Impact, you join us in this mission. 
Will you help to bring healing to Los Angeles by giving today? Together, we can create a big impact as empowered leaders in Los Angeles succeed, multiplying our influence.