Student, MA in Theology, MA in Intercultural Studies
Urban Ministry as a Two-Way Street
Kimberly Williams, devoted to urban ministry for years, tried taking one class at Fuller and was hooked. “It gave me real tools that were applicable to my ministry,” she says, and eventually decided to pursue two master’s degrees to better equip her for her urban work. Now, a recent assignment in another Fuller course has taken her in a surprising direction—one with a beat.
The assignment asked her to compare something in contemporary culture with something in the Old Testament writings, so Kimberly went to the experts: her “girls” in her old urban neighborhood. “I asked them to read Ecclesiastes and tell me what they saw there that reminded them of rap,” she relates—and it led to some fascinating discussion. “I didn’t know much about the music; they didn’t know much about the Bible” . . . so they taught each other.
That prompted Kimberly to wonder: Are there insights the church and the hip-hop community can gain from each other? She decided to research that music world—visiting a DJ school, getting to know hip-hop DJs, learning about their history and craft—and found many correlations between the role of the hip-hop DJ and the role of a pastor. “As a pastor chooses and weaves together passages of Scripture for his sermon, the DJ chooses and weaves together his music for the audience in front of him,” she observes.
And by entering into a world that was completely foreign to her, Kimberly is coming to understand what it’s like for those who enter into a church world that is completely foreign to them. “It’s a fascinating ministry context that has challenged me,” she affirms. “I’ve been learning at the feet of some unexpected teachers.”
Learn more about Kimberly’s work and hear her dialogue with DJ Mark Luv here.