Urban Impact - a Conversation with Rob Cruver
Recently I had the chance to spend some time with Rob Cruver, Lead Pastor at Zarephath Christian Church as well as the founder and Executive Director of one of our favorite organizations - Urban Impact. It was a great opportunity for me to get to know more about the incredible work the entire Urban Impact team is doing and it gives me the chance to introduce Urban Impact to you. This will be our first in a four-part series on the non-profit organizations we support at Hot Sauce 4 Good through our stewardship efforts.
Hot Sauce for Good: So Rob, as a pastor and a preacher I know you could spend an hour telling us all about Urban Impact. If you had to give us the two-minute ‘elevator speech’ describing what Urban Impact is and what it’s mission is, what would you say?
Rob Cruver: I guess you’ve heard me preach. Urban Impact is a ministry to at risk youth from inner city regions in New Jersey and New York. It works in partnership with existing programs and churches in these areas. Urban Impact helps provide volunteer training and support as well as offering mentoring, summer camp programs and monthly gatherings at its campus right here in Zarephath, NJ. If that’s not enough, we also operate a residential program called Urban Impact House for a small number of young men who are provided scholarships for their full-time college studies in partnership with Pillar College.
HS4G: That is impressive, both in your succinctness as well as in the breadth and depth of the program. How long has Urban Impact been ministering to at risk youth?
RC: The program started in 2004 to reach at risk boys and young men from the inner cities with the love of Jesus Christ and help them to develop spiritually, emotionally and academically so they could lead lives of joy and significance.
HS4G: Ten years, that is just incredible. How has the mission of Urban Impact changed overtime, or has it?
RC: The core mission of Urban Impact remains the same but over the years its program has expanded to include young women as well as young men. We have also expanded to more cities and have developed partnerships with other ministries. One of the biggest changes was the addition of the Impact House residential program.
HS4G: I would guess that in the ten years that Urban Impact has been ministering to youth you have seen a large number of young men and women come through the program. Can you tell us any ‘success stories’?
RC: It remains a joy to know and work with each of the young men and women that are part of Urban Impact. We celebrate with each one as they graduate high school and move on toward college or career training. At a recent Urban Impact graduation ceremony Jameer simply stated, “I am the only one in my family to graduate high school and now to attend college. I have stayed out of gangs and off of drugs and I know the love of God. Urban Impact is the main reason for all of this.” What’s wonderful is that’s not a unique story.
HS4G: I want to thank you for spending some time with me today - it was a blessing to me to hear these stories and to learn more about the mission of Urban Impact. I am sure that readers of this blog will want to learn even more and maybe even get involved. What can they do?
RC: We are no different than any other ministry - prayer and dependency on God is our Foundation. The bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from above. Urban Impact is always looking for people that are passionate about the next generation and are willing to pray, volunteer their time and stand with us financially. If anyone is interested please visit our website at http://urban-impact.org.
HS4G: Rob, thank you for your time - it was a pleasure.
To learn more about Urban Impact, visit them online at http://urban-impact.org.
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If you feel called to provide Urban Impact some financial assistance to keep this awesome ministry thriving you can donate directly to them by going to http://urban-impact.org/donate/.
Urban Impact is located on the campus of Zarephath Christian Church in Somerset, NJ.
URBAN IMPACT MISSION STATEMENT
To empower ministry partners and churches by engaging, equipping and encouraging them to meet the needs of inner city youth through spiritual, academic and family development. Our goal is to see them transformed through a personal relationship with God and learn to lead lives of significance.