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The mission of The Rock School of Urban Ministry is to provide an immersive learning experience in which students are trained and equipped to serve on the American inner-city mission field.

Urban America is a vast mission field. Millions live in impoverished, crime-ridden and hopeless conditions where the Gospel is desperately needed. Beginning and sustaining an urban ministry, however, is a significant challenge. The “hood” can be an intimidating place, operating by a set of norms that are unfamiliar - and sometimes shocking - to those living elsewhere. An urban missionary can easily be overwhelmed by the needs of the people and the stress of the environment.

Rock Ministries of Philadelphia has a long history of service in the inner-city. Our Kensington neighborhood is an epicenter of the opioid trade in America, which means it is dominated by crime and destitution. Yet the Lord has been so faithful to shine His light in this dark place. We have had the privilege of ministering to thousands and thousands of our neighbors, regularly reaching nearly every population in Kensington.

The Rock School of Urban Ministry exists to share our experience with those who have a heart for urban missions. Everything we’ve learned has been learned “on the job” as we grew from a tiny youth boxing program to a full community ministry. We want to pass along lessons which took us years to acquire, to equip those seeking to reach an American inner-city community.


In 2003, The Rock began as a boxing program for at-risk, inner-city youth. We have now grown to incorporate dozens of ministries operating 7-days a week. Some of our ministries include: street addictions chaplaincy, homeless sheltering and support, food pantry, youth sports ministry, after school tutoring and homework help, adult basic eduction, outdoor block and neighborhood outreaches, large-volume donation receipt and distribution, free community coffee houses and events, and more.

The Rock has missionary families, married couples and individuals stationed throughout the community who specifically reach out to their block, serving their neighbors as an overseas missionary might serve in a third-world community. We have a residential program for homeless and struggling young men, and a home for women in crisis or coming out of the street-life. We host short-term mission teams from around the country who spend up to a week with us serving and experiencing life in the inner-city.

Our church, Calvary Chapel of Kensington, was an outgrowth of the Rock. We have vibrant men’s, women’s and youth ministries, with Bible studies and activities nearly every day of the week.

the program

Our school is a year-long program, consisting of four quarters starting in September, with a week break between each quarter. Students will attend classes focusing on both Biblical studies and topics specific to inner-city ministry. Daily study time for reading and homework assignments will be allotted. Most importantly, students will spend significant time serving in the many Rock outreaches, ministries and activities we offer in the neighborhood. This will be a highly hands-on experience in which each student will live as an urban missionary. We believe that this type of “immersion” is the best education we can offer.

Student Qualifications

The Rock School of Urban Ministry is for those with a desire to serve on the American inner-city mission field. Students must be 18 years of age or older. They should be motivated to reach urban America with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a desire to explore ministry life in the inner city. They may have a specific ministry vision for a particular city or neighborhood. Or they may simply have a burden for the city, awaiting their unique call from the Lord as to where and how to serve.

We especially encourage applicants who would be supported by a church that 1) has a vision for an inner-city neighborhood, 2) a desire to equip the student as an urban minister or missionary, and 3) a goal of supporting the student in ministry after graduation. Though this type of strong church support is ideal, it is not necessary.

cost, lodging, meals and study materials

Tuition for the year is $6000. Housing and food will be provided. Men and women will have separate accommodations with full kitchens, baths and living areas. All books and study materials will be provided.


The most important lesson we’ve learned on the urban mission field is this: Fruitful ministry requires a calling. Those who remain energized and passionate for the work are those with a burden for it. As you consider application to The Rock School of Urban Ministry, PLEASE PRAY about your own calling. Has the Lord given you a heart to share the Gospel among the underserved and underprivileged? Is the inner-city an environment that inspires and motivates you? Do you believe that our school is God’s will and His vehicle for preparing you? If the answer is yes, then we welcome your application.

to apply for the Rock school of urban ministry, click the link below

Click here for APPLICATION