The Tabernacle Church of Norfolk established the Discovery Youth Center to evangelize public high school students as part of its youth ministry. The Lord gave the congregation an inner city ministry when young people, who were bused from Norfolk’s low-income neighborhoods to a nearby high school, made this youth center their place to hang out after school.
Michael Fariss and his wife, Kim, began volunteering at the Discovery Youth Center while preparing to go overseas as missionaries. Mike became the Director of this outreach ministry and the Tabernacle Church of Norfolk commissioned them to work as full-time missionaries with inner city children and high school students. They also joined Faith Community Church to serve as youth directors in the Park Place neighborhood where many of the Discovery Youth Center's young people lived.
During this time, Mike partnered with Ken Watson, a juvenile probation officer in Huntersville, another large inner city neighborhood in the same high school district. Ken and Mike established Fellowship of Christian Athletes clubs in two high schools and Ken became the Area Director for FCA in Hampton Roads, Virginia. They both took Washington Bible College extension courses at the Norfolk Bible Institute.
Through youth ministry, these men developed a vision for church planting to reach the parents of the inner city teenagers. Ken left the area for three years to obtain his Masters of Divinity from Columbia International University. During this time, crack cocaine drastically changed the neighborhood youth ministry and Mike became more aggressive in his educational and family outreaches.
UDM became a separate community-based non-profit missions organization and expanded its scope of services to include programs for entire families. Ken Watson returned to Norfolk after graduating from seminary and joined Mike in planting the Urban Community Church to reach Huntersville and Park Place families. The Tabernacle Church of Norfolk ordained them as pastors.
UDM and Project Light, a Christian literacy organization, developed award winning computer-assisted learning stations that empower mentors to address the educational needs of at-risk young people. Since 1993, UDM and Project Light added family literacy, GED preparation, family mentoring, health screening and summer pre-reading components to these learning stations. UDM partnered with the Huntersville Recreations Center, the Hunton YMCA and the James Monroe Elementary School when designing this model. The learning center were linked to UDM's sports ministries.
Ken Watson and Mike Fariss established G.L.O.B.E., the George Liele Objective for Black Enterprise, a partnership with Buff Bay Baptist Church to mobilize persons of African descent for world missions. Greg Johnston leaves the Navy and joins UDM to lead its learning center ministry.
Ken Watson and Kevin Keene, with their families, began UDM’s second church planting work in Rock Hill, South Carolina. They planted the Rock Hill Bible Fellowship in partnership with The Least of These Ministries and Westminister Presbyterian Church in Rock Hill. Ken also ministered to over 15,000 young people or college students each year through FCA and church speaking engagements.
Mike Fariss worked with Grace Mutzabaugh, the founder of the National Institute for Learning Disabilities, to develop a way to make its educational therapy available to children from low-income backgrounds. Their efforts turned into a successful three-year pilot program, which resulted in the Park Place School becoming established in 2000 as a separate organization under its own trustees. Mike's boys U11 AAU basketball team won the National AAU Championship in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
The Urban Community Church of Norfolk adopted its own constitution. The Buff Bay Baptist Church celebrated the completion of the first floor of the G.L.O.B.E. Center in Jamaica, which was funded through UDM's campaign to mobilize African-Americans for world missions. UDM released the Urban Community Church of Norfolk to be governed by its own, independent Board of Elders.
Mike Fariss transferred the pastorate of the Urban Community Church of Norfolk to Rev. Ed Haywood. Greg Johnston completed the development of UDM’s Evangelism Training Institute and UDM staff members teach the initial “Gospel Love Life” seminar at their headquarters.
Mike Fariss published Reconciling an Oppressor to explain UDM's philosophy of outreach and history. UDM and the Buff Bay Baptist Church dedicated the completed G.L.O.B.E. Center in Jamaica. Greg Johnston developed the curriculum for UDM’s Urban Church Planting Institute.
Ronnie McAdoo joined UDM as Sports Ministries Director. UDM launched a prototype of the Urban Church Planting Institute and equips a prospective church planting team through the first level of training.
After establishing a partnership with the Urban Community Church of Norfolk to strengthen model outreaches in Norfolk, UDM began a five-year plan to become an evangelism equipping ministry. UDM started The Urban Ministry Institute in partnership with Faith Bible College.
UDM published Mike Fariss' second book, Transforming Inner City Evangelism, as a training resource for equipping church and school leaders in urban outreach.
Mike Fariss begins consulting the Peninsula Community Chapel to establish a church in East End Newport News.
Mike and Kim Fariss celebrate 30 years in ministry with UDM. Chris Williams arrives in Newport News as a pastoral intern at the Peninsula East End Church plant.
Ronnie McAdoo is appointed as UDM’s Executive Director. Mike Fariss completes church planting work with Peninsula East End Church and Chris Williams is appointed as its pastor. UDM begins planting the Norfolk East Church near Norfolk State University. Mike Fariss and UDM intern Shanice Fuller assist InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in starting a chapter at NSU. UDM begins a children’s summer camp retreat at the Triple R Ranch. UDM designs, publishes, and begins implementing new strategic game plan for church planting.
UDM Strategic Game Plan is published. UDM welcomes two new interns to assist in community outreach and evangelism; DJ Butts and Courtney Greer become the vital link between Norfolk East Church and the Youngs Terrace housing community.
UDM publishes Mike Fariss' book, Vanguards of a Missionary Uprising, and implements a seven-fold missions mobilization strategy that begins with the first GLOBE Vanguard college retreat. UDM begins its first churchplanting phase in Columbia, South Carolina.
The Lord provides UDM the CURT Center in Norfolk. CURT stands for Commissioned URban Training (Center), named in gratitude after Curt Kenney, who went home to be with the Lord this year. Buff Bay Baptist Church expands its partnership with UDM. Kim Fariss joins UDM full-time as the CURT Center Coordinator. Kerry Ann Sylvester joins UDM as a missionary intern at the GLOBE Center in Jamaica. UDM commissions Brandon and Schylar Harrison as missionaries after Brandon completes a two-year internship. Greg and Katie Johnston celebrate 20 years as UDM missionaries.
The UDM Board adopted the Vanguard 2022 Project Vision in August. Mike and the staff team re-organized to effectively pursue this vision.
Ronnie and Janet McAdoo moved to Rock Hill, South Carolina in January to launch the Statesmanship Movement in partnership with UDM Board Member Ken Watson. In March, Asa Watson joined the UDM staff in Rock Hill as an intern.