Give to FYI Fuller Youth Institute

Urban Research

The goal of the Urban Empowerment Project at FYI is to increase the capacity of youth workers to spread the gospel in urban settings by offering training in the personal and professional skills needed for effective long-term ministry.

Since 2003, the Fuller Youth Institute (formerly Fuller’s Center for Youth and Family Ministry) has been working with urban youth workers to identify the top needs of urban youth workers and develop new strategies to meet those needs. We have done this by interviewing key leaders representing organizations like Young Life, Youth for Christ, Vision Youth, Urban Reclaim, the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, Mission America, the Christian Community Development Association, and the Urban Youth Workers Institute. Based on the findings of those interviews, Fuller faculty have partnered with leaders and ministries nationwide to develop research-based training on topics like:

  • An understanding of the developmental assets most pivotal to urban kids and families and case studies of ministries that are doing excellent holistic ministry.
  • How to network resources in your city so that youth workers accomplish more working together than they ever could on their own.
  • The principles of indigenous leadership development that are tested and really work in urban contexts.
  • How to raise funds and financial support for your urban youth ministry.
  • Solid counseling skills to help you respond to kids who have been traumatized and are hurting.
  • How to evaluate your own ministry so you can keep improving and also show others your tangible results.

Urban youth workers are welcome to access our urban tools in two primary ways. The first is through articles and resources found here at our web site. The second way to receive training is through enrolling in our Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry.

Risk and Resilience in Urban Ministry: Stress, Spirituality, and Support Research

As part of the Urban Empowerment Project and in partnership with Fuller’s Headington Program in International Trauma Research, FYI conducted a study on stress and spirituality among urban youth workers beginning in 2006. Until now there has been little research done to establish precisely what are the consequences of stress among urban workers and what urban ministry organizations can do to minimize the impact of stress on their staff. In order to address this need, the faculty and students of the Headington Program have partnered with FYI faculty to create a survey instrument that provides a relevant assessment of urban workers’ experience of chronic and traumatic stress, their spiritual practices and beliefs, and the types of resources and support they access.

After collecting this data, the research team met with urban youth workers as well as urban youth ministry organization leaders to further interpret and apply the findings.

Risk and Resilience Resources

To learn more about the insights and recommendations for urban workers emerging from this study, see Stress in the City: A New Study of Youth Workers, by Kara Powell, Cynthia Eriksson, and Jude Tiersma Watson.

Also available for download: Read the full report from the Risk and Resilience Study (466 KB PDF download)

Ongoing Research and Resources for Urban Leaders

The Fuller Youth Institute is committed to ongoing investment in urban youth workers and the specific needs and concerns that arise in ministry in urban contexts. We are so committed that we have developed one of the only graduate-level Certificate programs in the country that trains leaders specifically for urban youth ministry. Get more information on our 6-course Certificate program here.

Partnering with Fuller faculty, urban ministry organization leaders, and front-line youth workers, we continue to conduct research and provide needed resources specific to urban ministry. During 2008-2009, FYI faculty partner Dr. Jude Tiersma Watson developed a Self-Care Toolkit for urban leaders, available free from our website! 

Related Articles


Family in the City: Redefining what family can look like in the urban context

What does it mean to be a family, particularly in the disconnected environment of the city? Urban Youth Ministry professor Mary Glenn helps us take steps toward helping young and old find family.


Unlocking the Keys to Indigenous Urban Leadership: Youth for Christ Research Brief

What does it take to develop an indigenous urban ministry leader? Insights from leaders themselves offer important clues.


DJing and the Art of Pastoral Care: A Different Spin on the Role of the Pastor, Part 2

What do the Hip Hop DJ and the youth pastor have in common? In Part 2 of this series, Kimberly offers insights from DJs to improve your teaching.


Hip Hop and the Art of Pastoral Care: A Different Spin on the Role of the Youth Pastor, Part 1

Surprising insights from DJ school into the vocation and role of youth pastors.


No Rest for the Weary: The Stressors of Urban Burnout

Research reveals that urban youth workers struggle to get personal help when they need it. This research brief and interview with Young Life Vice President Angel Ruiz offers ideas to change that trend.


View More Articles

Read the Latest FYI E-Journal

Volume 10 Issue 12

July 10 2014

Subscribe to the E-Journal

Our free bi-weekly E-Journal, delivered to your inbox and full of no-cost resources for you.

Can I Ask That? Youth Curriculum available now! Urban Youth Ministry Certificate Program Sticky Faith Cohort