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Urban Ministry: The Kingdom, the City, and the People of God

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No. 3 in the 2002 Academy of Parish Clergy Top Ten Books of the Year

The city presents serious challenges that cry out for answers: poverty, racism, human exploitation and government corruption. How can the church move ahead in the midst of these demands with the gospel of hope?

Here, in one comprehensive volume, Harvie Conn and Manuel Ortiz, two noted scholars and proven practitioners of urban ministry, address the vital work of the church in the city. Their dual goal: to understand the city and God's work in it.

Through four great waves of development, Conn and Ortiz trace the history of the city around the world. Then they tackle the critical issue of a biblical basis for urban mission. How does the Bible view the city? Are we closer to God in the country than the city? Does the Bible have an anti-urban bias? These questions are given a thorough analysis that unveils God's urban mandate as reflected in both Old and New Testaments.

From this foundation the authors unpack the multifaceted nature of the city as place, as process, as center, as power, and as a place of change and stability. They move us beyond fragmented stereotypes to a new way of seeing that is holistic enough for a fully biblical ministry to develop.

In addition, Conn and Ortiz lay out what the social sciences have to offer urban mission, including ethnographic and demographic studies and they focus on the particular issues and needs of urban leadership, including a plan for developing and mentoring leaders while equipping the laity for ministry in the city.

This is the essential text for bringing God's kingdom to the city through the people of God.

Resource Experts
  • Provides a historical section, that attempts to lay out a global view of urban history and demographics
  • Structured for students to work through sequentially to get a full-orbed understanding of urban ministry
  • Takes a biblical-historical look at God’s concern for cities to help the reader put together the present contemporary world with the world of biblical times

Part One: The City: Past Present

  • From the Present to the Past
  • Into the Industrial Age
  • The Fourth Great Urban Wave

Part Two: Biblical Perspectives

  • God the Old Testament City: Love or Hate?
  • Temptation Testing, Promise Fulfillment
  • Jesus, the Spirit the Church
  • A New Lord, a New People, a New World

Part Three: Understanding the City

  • Place, Process Misperception
  • Religion in the City
  • The City as Power
  • The City as Center
  • Urban Constancy Change
  • The Contemporary Church Responds

Part Four: Developing Urban Church Growth Eyes

  • The Social Sciences Mission
  • Ethnographic Studies Mission
  • Demographic Studies Mission

Part Five: Promoting Kingdom Signs in the City

  • Reachable People Groups the City
  • Shalom Social Transformation
  • Spiritual Warfare in the City

Part Six: Leadership Discipleship for the Urban Church

  • Contextual Traits of Urban Leadership
  • Selecting Candidates for Urban Leadership Development
  • Curriculum for Developing Urban Leaders
  • Mentoring the Urban Leader
  • Equipping the Laity for Urban Ministry

Top Highlights

“Urban crosscultural opportunities very close to home continually increase in number.” (Page 386)

“In matters of training, seminaries and Bible colleges continue to prepare leadership for a context that has long passed and are not taking into regard the changing world that is becoming more urban and ethnically diverse than ever before.” (Page 379)

“Cities were beginning to look for a new way to define themselves without God at the core. More and more they saw Christianity, represented by the clergy, tied to another world, outsiders to the city and its citizens.” (Page 41)

“They often focus only on the local church and fail to address sociological and missiological implications.” (Page 378)

“readers and hearers mistakenly assume that the direction offered will apply in any cultural context.” (Page 377)

Urban Ministry . . . is a pivotal resource for those interested in understanding God's perspective on ministering within urban contexts of the 21st century.

--Ken Castor, The Journal of Youth Ministry, Fall 2011

As a refreshingly exhaustive, provacative, relevant, and practical opus, though, Urban Ministry will serve many current and future urban church workers quite well as both a textbook and a reference book for grappling with the various complexities of and ripe opportunities for ministry in twenty-first century urban contexts.

--Dien Ashley Taylor, Concordia Theological Quarterly 74 (2010)

Conn and Ortiz in Urban Ministry set out with the goal to understand the city and God's work in it. They undertake this task with a thorough examination of the urban milieu historically, psychologically, sociologically, ethnographically, demographically, and biblically. Not being an Evangelical, I still highly recommend that every Christian who is involved or interested in urban ministry read this book.

--Frank Mills, Borderlands Review, (frankamills.com), October 2008

In the Logos Reader Edition, this volume is enhanced to best fit the content. Scripture references are hand-tagged to integrate with powerful functionality in Logos Bible Software. Page milestones and internal citation tagging provide accurate points of reference. Search important words across resources to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive tools for reading digital content are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.


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    Digital list price: $44.99
    Save $9.00 (20%)