Updated: Jan 5
Enjoy this detailed interview with Pedro Rodriguez, the microchurch leader of Urban Youth Justice (UYJ). Hear what UYJ is doing to connect with its community.
What is your microchurch?
Our microchurch is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. A ministry that aims to serve justice-involved youth across Florida and beyond.
Tell me about the people you serve.
We serve teenage boys and girls ages 13-18 who are currently incarcerated. Many of them are affected by fatherlessness and poverty and lead to a life of crime.
What are the major challenges your ministry is facing right now?
Right now we are not facing many challenges besides the fact that Covid has affected the whole country in different ways. We are seeking to raise more funds and that can become a challenge to the success of our microchurch.
What (if anything) is your microchurch doing currently?
We are back in the facilities leading life skills classes, offering services like mentorship and coaching in person or online. We are also meeting needs such as food, clothing, and job assistance.
What is one thing that you tried that worked, and what is one thing that you tried that didn’t work?
Recording DVDs with biblical content worked well in reaching youth during quarantine but Zoom was not a great method due to internet issues on the facilities' end.
How have people responded to things your ministry is currently doing? How have the people that you’re serving seen God work?
People are responding well and finding this to be a ministry they want to support or be a part of. The youth are responding to the gospel and the music in ways that show God is at work in them. God is opening their eyes and shifting their hearts back to Him.
What is one thing you are hopeful for your ministry coming out of quarantine?
The one thing we have been hopeful for is that the team will continue to thrive through challenging times and that we would stay focused on the mission.
How are you doing as a leader?
As a leader I am doing better than I was several months into the quarantine. I learned a lot and it has empowered me to continue going hard for the Kingdom.
What is one thing you are hopeful for you personally during quarantine?
That I can stay in good emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Is there something Jesus is putting on your heart to prepare for when quarantine lifts?
He has put on my heart that I am to continue leading my team, building relationships, and gaining access to as many facilities as possible so we can reach as many youth as possible.
The St. Pete Underground is a faith-based non-profit missional movement that empowers local missionaries to live out their God-given dreams. To learn more about the St. Pete Underground and Urban Youth Justice check out their microchurch page here.