In this Alumni Spotlight, we are highlighting two local compassionate ministry centers that are led/directed by NTS Alums: The Kansas City Rescue Mission (Joe Colaizzi ‘87) & and the Kansas City Urban Youth Center (Chuck Sailors ‘00). Many NTS students minister in these communities as paid staff, volunteers and ministry interns. We are highlighting these two in this issue of the NTS Connection (focused on compassionate ministries and evangelism) because of the ongoing ways in which they allow our current students to be actively involved in compassionate ministry.
Kansas City Rescue Mission (KCRM) www.kcrm.org
Pastor/Director: Rev. Joe Colaizzi (’87)
Mission Statement: To be a Christ-centered community offering freedom and hope to the poor and homeless, empowering them to reach their full potential.
Vision: One of service to the community: People served by the KCRM are able to live successfully on their own in balanced and interdependent lives with Christ.
We asked Rev. Colaizzi how his years of ministry preparation at NTS has impacted his life and ministry—and how he got connected to the KCRM. Here are his responses:
“After years of hands-on ministry in New York City, I came to Kansas City to hit the books. But with no prior formal biblical or theological training, I found myself struggling. Add to the mix a working wife, a part-time job and an infant child, and the struggle intensified.
“During a particularly difficult time in my third semester, I was overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel. I planned to leave NTS and engage once again in full-time ministry. During an NTS chapel service, while considering my options, the Lord spoke in a very clear and powerful way to my heart. ‘Find a quiet place’ He seemed to say, ‘Where you are better able to hear my voice.’
“This resulted in a week-long retreat at the end of which the Lord made four things clear to me. He wanted me to finish seminary, direct my studies towards missions, quit my part-time job, and get involved with the Kansas City Rescue Mission. This was the turning point for me. Ministry at the Mission provided the hands-on release I needed. It helped me adjust my priorities and begin to apply all I’d been learning at Seminary. After four years of hard work, I graduated with my Master of Divinity Degree.”
What was one of the most significant lessons, beyond the classroom, that you learned while attending NTS?
“Probably one of the most significant lessons I learned while attending NTS was the humanness of the professors. As I struggled through the academics I remember most clearly the ministry I received from just about every professor I had. This included taking a personal interest in my life: expressions of patience, kindness, encouragement, wise counsel, and above all, grace, without which I could not have made it.”
Tell us more about NTS interns at KCRM.
“NTS interns have consistently made a difference at the Kansas City Rescue Mission. Over the years, assignments have included preaching and music during chapel services; one-on-one mentoring with clients; teaching art and ESL classes; research projects to discover more relevant worship styles and reaching out to local churches for prayer support for KCRM.
“Interns have helped design Power Point presentations for Bible studies and discipleship classes and assisted with recreation programs, exploring off-site events and transportation options.“To give the interns a broader view of the overall ministry we have also assigned them to assist with shelter operations, food service and client case management. “
Kansas City Urban Youth Center (KCUYC) www.kcurbanyouthcenter.org
Pastor/Director: Rev. Chuck Sailors (’00)
Mission Statement: Offer urban youth Christian hope, community and wholeness.
Vision: To build the Kingdom of God through youth in the urban core of Kansas City.
The (KCUYC) was started in 2004 by Rev. Sailors, a committed group of volunteers, and a dedicated founding Board of Directors (including NTS President Ron Benefiel and then NTS Faculty Member Ed Robinson). When asked how NTS students impact the KCUYC’s ministry, Rev. Sailors had this to say:
“Our largest numbers of volunteers and staff have been from NTS. Even though a large number of NTS students get supervised ministry experience credit for the hours they spend here, there are many students who don’t…they minister because they realize the importance of investing in the lives of youth. But regardless, NTS students spend quality time in ministry and service here—and they make a difference in the lives of youth who need someone to care about them.
“I am confident that I would not have had the passion nor the skill sets necessary to start a compassionate ministry center had it not been for the time I spent as a student at NTS. NTS, in many ways, is responsible for the starting of and the ongoing impact of the KCUYC’s ministry. Hundreds of urban youth and their families have been impacted since this ministry opened in 2004. I can’t wait to see what God will do in the next four years!”
Currently* (enrolled) students who are on staff at the KCRM: Ben Booton, Joe Foltz, Luke McLean, Michael Purlee, and Carey Sheldon. NTS Alumni who are currently* on staff at the KCRM: Krista Barkley (’08), Joe Colaizzi (‘87), Gordon Milton (’96), Joseph Roberts (’08), Gil Thibault (’05), and Mark Tran (’04). NTS President Ron Benefiel is a member of the KCRM’s Board of Directors.
Currently* (enrolled) students who are on staff at the KCUYC: Montague Williams and Jessica Beha. NTS Alumni who are currently* on staff at the KCUYC: Chuck Sailors (’00) and Jared Willemin (’07). NTS President Ron Benefiel is a member of the KCUYC’s founding Board of Directors.
In addition, there are a large number of NTS students, staff, faculty and alumni who volunteer/intern at the KCRM and the KCUYC on a regular (sometimes daily) basis.