Dignity vs. Dependency: How One Akron Ministry is Changing 
Their Community Part Four – 2010-05-03

By: Katie Sobiech

As we wrap up this series on Urban Vision’s ministry it is important to mention that UV is not just adding programs for the sake of adding programs or increasing numbers. The goal is to make a permanent change in hearts and lives, ultimately raising up a community of strong believers and leaders.

“We’re all about building indigenous leadership in the community for long term,” Rodney said, “We’re not about how many people we can get in the program, we’re about how many people we can have 15 years from now in this community, living for God and affecting the community,” Rodney said.

One thing UV has found crucial in achieving this goal is to provide adult mentors to the teens who will build relationships with them.

“It’s about having someone they can look up to and knowing that they have those people to go to,” Rodney explained.

Building Relationships through Sports

One of the most recent additions to UV is the Urban Vision Athletic Club.

“We’re going to have a whole bunch of different sports teams get together,” Rodney said.

The tagline is “Making Disciples through Sports”.

As everything is established, they will have a UV basketball team go out and play against other teams, and a soccer team play in local leagues. Baseball and flag football teams are also in the works.

The UV girls have already had their first round of volleyball, playing against a local home-school team.

“They loved it and had a great time,” Rodney said.

“Through this we get to build and cross the barriers of the four different ethnicities that we deal with, because there’s still such segregation in the relationships and sports. Being on the same team is an opportunity for them to bond together,” he continued.

This has been their dream since receiving the building 2 ½ years ago.

“We have four different ethnic groups in the teams. It seemed like last night they were playing better and it was only their second time, so we’re breaking down some of those walls,” Rodney said.

They’ve recently started soccer clinics, playing against CVCA’s soccer team which comes in on Monday nights.

Help Wanted

Slowly but surely the ministry is growing through the help of individuals partnering up with UV.

“God has brought along the people in His timing because I can’t do everything,” Rodney said, “I paint the picture that for me it’s like surfing. I have no idea how to surf but there’s this huge wave of things happening and I’m on the top of it and God’s just holding me by a puppet string up on top because that’s about all I can do is just try to ride the wave as best as possible and keep up with all that God is blessing me with. It’s been good.”

Unfortunately, because of a lack of volunteers they have had to turn kids away from various activities. Their soccer program of 25 kids cannot take in any more unless they get more adult supervision. On the bright side, the more help the get, the more kids they can serve.

“My job is to be patient and wait for the resource,” Rodney said, “When God brings the resources that fit what we’re going to do it’s my job to just put it all together and say ‘Go’”.

If you are interested in helping serve with this ministry in any way please call 330.762.1163 or visit http://www.urbanvisionministry.org.

 

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