page background - downtown Minneapolis

Equipping Christians
to Build and Lead Cross-Cultural Ministries.

Who we are

A non-denominational college level introduction to cross-cultural ministry that meets one night per week during the school year. This program utilizes community and ministry leaders to "Equip Christians to Build and Lead Cross-Cultural Ministries." It is open to all adults and is currently offered in three college catalogs in the Twin Cities including, Concordia University St. Paul, University of Northwestern St. Paul, and Association Free Lutheran Bible School. It was chosen by the Lausanne 2006 Occasional Paper as one of the six global models for training the next generation. The course notebook can be emailed worldwide in seconds.

The Challenge:

In 1800, only 3% of the world's population lived in cities. In 1900, it had grown to 10%. Today, half of the world's population lives in vast metro areas. By 2020, 75%! How will we reach them with the Gospel? That question created MissionShift Institute (formely known as School of Urban Ministry). Today, urban means cross-cultural ministry from Red Wing to St. Cloud.

The Universal Need of the City

Cities worldwide share the same problems: single generation families; poverty; chemical dependency; mental illness; housing and development issues; gangs, justice and prison systems, prostitution; HIV/AIDS and much more. These swirling, teeming cities are multi-cultural, and each sub-group will need to be approached with the Gospel within their own cultural milieu, in the midst of their own needs. To serve in the city, we need an understanding of what makes up a culture and how to cross cultural boundaries. We need to understand other world religions and where there are access points for the Gospel. We, as the church, have never faced a situation like this. The book needs to be re-written. And our American cities will be reached only in the same way. We need to teach entrepreneurial leaders to build the urban church here and worldwide!

Who Needs to Be Taught?

We aim at four groups:

  1. Suburban volunteers, who wish to be equipped for cross-cultural outreach
  2. Urban leaders who desire to be more effective in entrepreneuring their ministries
  3. Seminary, college, and Bible school students who wish to serve cross-culturally
  4. Missionaries and candidates for urban ministry worldwide

Fall Semester - The City, its Cultures, its Religions, and Building Ministry

  1. Tour of the Neighborhood & History of the Neighborhood
  2. Intro to the Concept of Culture, Bell-shaped Curves & the Acculturation Process
  3. Ethnic Store Visits, Discussion of Racism
  4. Continuum of Responses to American Culture; The Four Culture Game
  5. Cultural Encounters Presentations - Individuals who have worked in another culture.
  6. Cultural Encounters Presentations – Individuals who are from an embedded culture. (Native Americans and African Americans)
  7. Cultural Encounters: Presentations – Individuals who moved to America from another culture (Somali, Hispanic, Hmong, Russian, etc.)
  8. Research and meet current neighborhood ministries
  9. Entrepreneuring the Church: A Missiology for Growing the Church
  10. Kiersey-Bates (MBPI-Type) Personality Type Inventory
  11. World Religions: Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Animism, New Age Movement, and Secularism.

Spring Semester - The City, its Problems and Building Ministry

  1. Resourcing-Alisha Soule
  2. How we do Social Ministry without Losing the Gospel
  3. Challenges of the City:

    - Welcoming the Refugee/the Refugee Experience
    - Immigration Law/Take the Citizenship Test
    - Prostitution/Sex Trafficking/Ex John’s School
    - Ex-Gang Members/Police Perspective
    - Open AA Meeting/Chemical Dependency
    - Justice/Courts/ Rehabilitation/Reentry
    - Poverty/Homelessness/Unemployment
    - Mental Illness/Disabilities
    - City Politics/City Council

  4. Design a Ministry to meet a need of an Unreached People Group

Minneapolis as an Urban Laboratory

Minneapolis, because of our rich tradition of refugee resettlement is unique. Here we are, a Midwestern metro area of almost than three million people, landlocked in the center of the continent, with great supporting human services, and now we are filled with people from all over the world. Today we have more than 740,000 new immigrants! Our level of immigration unique, and so is the level of diversity! Here we sit, in the midst of at least 150 people groups! We have here a God-given laboratory, with all of the educational riches of our metro area, with committed Lutherans all around us, with the ability to train believers to reach almost any culture on earth! Let's go!

St. Paul's as a Base

World missions have been the center of St. Paul's history. For the last 135 years, our congregation has committed itself to evangelical, people-centered mission in the inner city. Our entire program is based on making disciples. We have learned many things; we have much yet to learn. But we are able to share what we do know, so that others may stand on our shoulders.

Together We Have Many Strengths

Our congregation has had a history of being a catalyst to bring people together in ministry. We bring this, along with our knowledge of the city, our program, an ability to organize and teach, and our facilities. To this we add the partnering of people of many backgrounds who share their gifts. We are pairing city and suburb with the educational resources around us. Like the old children's story of "The Stone Soup," if we each bring a bit of what we have, together we can make quite a soup!

So it is with the MissionShift Institute. We do the publicity, and gather a board. However, many teach classes on cultural boundaries, social needs, building ministries, and on and on. College professors, medical people, social workers, missionaries, seminary professors, business people and more teach the content. MissionShift has been built with a coalition of educational institutions, congregations, organizations and leaders. The curriculum made up of two sixteen-week semesters, meeting three hours every Monday night. The purpose of the MissionShift Institute is to "Equip Christians to Build and Lead Cross-Cultural Ministries." Independent study credits can be arranged at area colleges and seminaries, and professionals can use it for cross-cultural CEU's. People from high school age through senior citizens have attended. The curriculum taught in MissionShift Institute is useful for ministries in cities worldwide. Such global appeal has sparked interest in people from all over. As a result, the school is expanding to sites in different cities. Each site offers the same basic curriculum, but it is tailored to the city in which it is located.

We invite you to come and be trained. We need to warn you: A high percentage of our graduates end up sensing God's call to make a difference in the city! The whole world now lives 20 minutes from your door. Who will reach them? Several new ministries have had their startup in MissionShift Institute projects. Are you ready to make a difference? Classes will begin on Monday nights in September at 6:30 P.M. Tuition for each semester is just $200 and tuition assistance is available if needed. MissionShift admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

Register for classes!