To empower people to transform their neighborhoods.
That people live in neighborhoods full of opportunity, know and serve their neighbors, and are invited into gospel-centered community.
- Empowerment: that we should not do for others what they are capable of doing for themselves
- Relationship: that people should know and serve each other
- Gospel: that the power of the gospel is the greatest agent of transformation
- Dignity: that all people have significant value and worth because they are created in the image of God
- Opportunity: that people have the greatest potential to thrive when they have access to opportunity
By July 2006, Mission: St. Louis’ Founder and Executive Director, Josh Wilson, had worked with inner-city kids and had seen first hand the effects of poverty; he had seen need. With a dedicated vision to restore St. Louis, Josh started several conversations with his church, The Journey. His conversations led to an internship, which eventually developed into a full-fledge mercy ministry designed to connect The Journey with residents in at-risk neighborhoods.
After a three-month flurry of unfocused volunteer activity, Josh realized that we were doing harm rather than good. Volunteers did not have personal relationships with any of the people they were serving. Everyone involved was burned out. It was time for a change.
The turning point came in the form of a school supply drive for Adams Elementary School located in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. This began a relationship between Mission: St. Louis, Adams Elementary and the surrounding neighborhood. We narrowed our focus, guided our volunteers, and put all our resources into one specific community. We built relationships in this community and were able to get to know the people and their needs.
Since our start in Forest Park Southeast, we have grown to include other schools, neighborhoods, churches, organizations and programs. We’ve created programs from youth development to leadership development in order to empower our neighbors with the resources needed for success. With a focused mission and values, we believe that together we can restore our city one neighborhood at a time.