The Urban Project - Los Angeles is one of many summer opportunities that Athletes in Action provides for the physical and spiritual development of collegiate student-athletes.

At the UP-LA nearly 50 staff and students live together in community in one huge house for three life-changing weeks. Lives, meals, joys, sorrows, laughs, cries, and plenty of late night conversations and hysterics are shared as we seek to learn and to love. 

Collegiate student-athletes of all levels will be challenged through the AIA Principles of Competition and The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. to worship God through their sport and their lives as student-athletes and to view competition as well as their social platform as athletes from a Biblical perspective, that should lead to their becoming complete athletes, physically, mentally, and spiritually ready for competition and for life. If God created sport, and it is tarnished by sin, it needs to be drastically redeemed for God’s glory.

The UP-LA is a unique opportunity. While teaching the students how to honor and uphold the testimony of Jesus Christ in their athletic and personal lives, the UP-LA also focus on tackling the issues of culture, racism, class, power, poverty, privilege, responsibility, and social justice, and what the Gospel of Christ has to say about these ever-relevant and important issues. 

The thesis of the UP-LA is found in Luke 4:16-21 where Jesus tells the world that He has come to “preach the gospel to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

The outstanding book With Justice for All by Dr. John Perkins, is used as a framework for exploring these critical issues. The book also distills a Biblical framework, based off of Jesus’ life and ministry, for bringing justice and healthy, holistic development to a community. The Three R’s of community development that Dr. Perkins explains, and has lived out for decades, are Relocation, Reconciliation, and Redistribution. At the Urban Project, our desire is to see student-athletes catch a vision of how they can be agents of grace and healing when they return to their respective communities, campuses, and contexts.