The TUM Story:
Late in 2011, apartment ministry was a glimmer of our future as a family member became the discussion leader of a Bible-study in a local apartment community and the concept of relationship building through discussion of scripture for life application was born.
While on a mission trip to Arlington, Texas the summer of 2012, we were introduced to Tillie Burgin and the work she had done for over twenty five years as Mission Arlington/Mission Metroplex. Mrs. Burgin explained that she had come to understand that there were people in Arlington that for one reason or another would never act on an invitation to attend traditional church. She believed that they saw their situation as temporary and were convinced that building relationships was pointless. In Arlington the answer had been to go where people lived and deliberately engage residents with consistent relationships and community. We became convinced that we were to address that situation in Tuscaloosa’s growing communities.
Upon return, work began to expand the original group with outreach events that included block parties and free garage sales. Tuscaloosa Urban Mission(TUM) became a 501.c.3 a year later and the effort was expanded to another complex on the city’s west side and children’s ministry was introduced to our operation with thirty or so children participating. The concept of summer missions was introduced during the summer of 2014 through a summer lunch program at two
apartment complexes where summer missionaries provided enrichment programs for the area children. January 2015 a homework-help/tutoring program was begun for children in one of those communities and teachers from the area worked with the children to complete their assignments and perform life enrichment exercises. The summer of 2016 was the beginning of “Summer Hope,” a 7 week half day camp program done inside two major apartment communities. Ten core student missionaries lead teams that presented an organized program of crafts, games, physical activity and Bible stories and fifty or so children participated.
Each year additional people have been added to the community mission effort and seeds for life long participation have been planted. Many of the participants gain experience as Discussion Leaders, Site Coordinators, Small Group Outreach Leaders, Summer Missionaries, and Event Managers. Personal investment and relationship building are key components to all we do. Each year, a new set of workers has stepped up for the challenge and learn skills they can use for a lifetime.
We are followers of Jesus seeking to hold each other up as we work in our community to promote physical and spiritual good in the lives of those we touch. We are tools being sharpened for future work. Our impact will be determined by the workers and resources available to support the effort. Please consider joining us!