Last month, ministry leaders from 30 different cities gathered at Bethel University for Creating Options Together, a conference designed to generate fresh options for those mired in the grips of poverty. The conference was designed around offering a diversity of voices that address the myriad effects of poverty.
The Inner City Ministry of Cru (formerly Here’s Life Inner City) hosted the event.
In developing the conference, Ryan Sather, director of the local ministry, said they wanted to encourage and uplift the local church.
“Our heart in the conference was really to give pastors in the city the same access in the inner city—predominantly neighborhoods that maybe don’t have a lot of resources, struggle with issues of poverty—but give those sorts of pastors an opportunity for a time to be refreshed, be built into, be encouraged and be developed,” he said. “We just felt like there are not a lot of opportunities like that for pastors where the speakers are also coming from their same perspectives.”
Speakers included noted local and national ministry leaders, including John Perkins, Carl Ellis, T. Cher Moua, T-awannda Piper, Mike Tong and numerous others.
“I heard a pastor actually share this,” Sather continued. “This conference was so incredibly encouraging for them [because] they heard from upfront a mixture of both local and national folks that looked like them and were journeying in the same sorts of realities and struggles and joys and pains that they are walking through themselves doing ministry in the inner city.”
Transform Minnesota served as a sponsor for the conference, believing the church needs to continually hear and learn from the diversity of voices it serves.
“One of Transform Minnesota’s values is racial reconciliation, and we believe it is important for Christians of different ethnicities and cultures to learn from each other as we seek to overcome differences that separate us by uniting around Jesus Christ,” said Carl Nelson, president and CEO of Transform Minnesota.
In addition, one of Transform Minnesota’s three distinctives is centered on providing resources for the local church. Not only alerting the church to events like the Creating Options Together conference and helping with sponsorships, but also providing opportunities for follow-up and providing the necessary training and resources that result in long-term change and value.