Pastor Implements New Urban Ministry Model

Mo Wildey conducting a bible study. Source: Biblical Recorder

Seven years ago, church consultant Mo Wildey was approached by a new inner-city church plant looking for assistance. Wildey, a consultant and elder at his local nondenominational church, immediately recognized his congregation might be able to help this new plant to get on their feet and spoke to his church’s leadership.

The church leadership informed Wildey, “The church told me, “We will be involved with the church plant if you’re leading the effort.’”

So, about seven years ago, Wildey and his wife, Susan, moved into an inner-city apartment building.

Accepting the role of helping the new church, Wildey and his wife Susant moved into an inner-city apartment building just days after a multi-person homicide occurred. Remarking on his new home, Wildey described the complex as a place where individuals could want, “substances as well as people.”

Developing a ministry approach designed to reach broken people who may not feel comfortable entering a church building, Wildey focused on building relational ministries.

He noted, “To reach the lost we have to be able to go where they are…We need to meet them where they are and build a relationship with them, which leads to an opportunity to talk about Jesus in their purview. Now you’re talking about really being able to reach the lost.”

Bringing in partners from the local community, Wildey established a substance abuse and addiction recovery program, along with bible studies that would become congregations.

Calling his ministry the Yeshua Society, Wildey helped mentor other residents in the apartment complex to become peer leaders to provide models of healthy living and discipleship.

One of these peer leaders, Callen “Cal” Ealy is a recovering alcoholic who grappled with substance abuse that cost him his business and relationships with his children. Now on the road to recovery, Ealy serves as the Yeshua Society’s chief operating officer and hashis since committed his life to Christ and gotten baptized.

When offered a high paying marketing job, Ealy turned it down, citing he wanted to do whatever God wanted him to do with his life and felt called to stay engaged with his new community and help others.

Since completing the recovery program, Ealy has remarried his wife and reconnected with his children.

Though not initially connected with a larger network of churches, in 2017 while on vacation with his wife, Wildey and his wife discovered the North American Board’s (NAMB) Send Conference in Long Beach, California.

“We had no idea what it was, but it looked like there were some pretty good people speaking at the conference,” Wildey said.

“When I went to Long Beach, I didn’t know what Send Network was,” Wildey said, “but I’ve never run across an organization, a group of people, who have a greater desire to plant churches for the right reasons – building the Kingdom of God.”

With the assistance of the Send Network, Wildey has planted a new congregation in San Diego that follows his model.

Today, the Yeshua Society has over 200 people from Indianapolis to San Diego working to disciple the broken in urban areas. 

Wildey noted, “I think it’s time for all of us to be open to new ways, if you will, as America is going through what it’s going through. If we are going to reach the lost, we need to be open to new ways. Of course, what we’re doing is not new. It’s the way that the church in Acts got started.”

Recently, Wildey was featured in the NAMB’s 2021 prayer calendar that features 51 missionaries and chaplains.

Source: Biblical Recorder