Bethel students spend their nights in a Bible study on the streets of Minneapolis
Culture | Lucy Hayes for The Clarion
Bundled up City Front members study the Bible as they wait for opportunities to talk to curious passersby. | Photo for The Clarion courtesy of Jenny Wriedt.
City Front Ministries is one of Bethel’s unique ministry opportunities, and it happens every weekend. On Saturday nights, City Front members, headed by sophomore Jenny Wriedt and senior Kevin Ramp, will immerse themselves into the heart of downtown Minneapolis, right outside of Augie’s strp club on Hennepin Avenue, and have a Bible study, inviting others to participate.
In this setting City Front members are often approached by people who are either encouraging them, questioning them or looking for someone to share their story with. City Front is about talking with people from different backgrounds and getting to know them on a more personal level.
One of the most common misconceptions of City Front is that it is street evangelism. “We want to change that view,” said Wriedt. “We’re really just trying to show God’s love.”
Holding the Bible study outside of Augie’s has not only been beneficial in “cleaning up” that block, but returning to it weekly has also been rewarding for City Front members.
A few years ago Ramp met a homeless man who would minister to others without a home. Ramp met with him a few times outside of City Front to “talk life.” After catching up with him a few weeks ago, Ramp learned that the man now has a job, a place to live, and he recently met with his daughter whom he hadn’t spoken to in 14 years.
“It’s really cool how we get to see and hear these stories," Ramp said. "We get to pray with these people about these things; these are real people.”
Wriedt has had a personal experience with the woman at the front desk of Augie’s. She was shy at first, but now she greets Wriedt and some of the other members with gracious hugs each week. She is now praying regularly and is searching for a new job. Wriedt emails her often.
“That was one of the coolest experiences for me,” Wriedt said, “being able to develop this relationship with her.”
Many people wonder about arguments that may be aroused by passersby. While this may occur, Ramp said that they receive “so much encouragement every night. It’s ridiculous.”
Even on nights when not as many people attend, the group still leaves having had a stimulating Bible study. “There’s really no such thing as a bad night. Every week is so different,” Wriedt said. “I always say that everyone should come at least twice to get a feel for it.”
Wriedt views City Front as an opportunity for students to reach out to others outside of the Bethel bubble. The City Front group meets at 9:00 p.m. on freshman hill to head out for the night of ministry.