The EDGE is an urban missions church in Grand Rapids, Mich., dedicated to reaching the hip-hop culture for Christ.
Even with the extremely difficult financial challenges that come along with urban ministry God has been faithful. Over the past five years the EDGE has been dedicated to reaching youth and young adults in the urban context. During summer 2013, the church purchased a 100-year-old church building and transformed it into a beacon of hope in the midst of the culture. Every day of the week we are using the music studio, dance space, coffee shop, and the rest of the location to move people into being committed followers of Christ.
This fall the EDGE started a partnership with Job Corps to begin engaging their youth and young adults in programs and services offered at The Edge. Job Corps is an in-house job training programs that helps youth (16-24 years old) earn their GED or high school diploma and find lasting employment. Students have received Christ for the first time and were baptized.
We have implemented a few ministries in a response to the 49% in our community that do not graduate from high school, 80% of our community that live below the poverty line, and the 50 known gangs in our community. One of those ministries is Family Leadership Initiative (FLI). This is a DeVos Foundation ministry designed to empower the whole family around the concept of educational success. This program has two tracks. Track one provides soft skill training and coaching for parents. Track two allows students to simultaneously work on their math and reading using Khan Academy. The program includes family meals, field trips, and an end-of-year celebration. At the celebration our families join 21 additional FLI sites across the greater Grand Rapids area to rejoice over the students and families for their successes.
Another ministry that The EDGE has implemented is I40 Urban Arts Program. I40 uses creative writing/Christian rap, dance, video, and audio production to reach youth and young adults. Over eight weeks, youth participate in 16 equipping sessions (two per week) where they follow an asset building curriculum. Students learn practical skills in the arts while being paired with mentors to begin a journey to help them develop mind, body, and spirit. The program ends with a community celebration of the students’ achievements. Students receive a certificate of completion, perform their newly honed/learned song, and debut their music video. Through these ministries The EDGE has seen 600 lives come to Christ and countless individuals and families transformed into committed followers of Christ!