Next Steps to Care, City by City
Each of us is at a different place in our understanding of and commitment to urban ministry. But each of us is still at just the right place for mirroring God’s heart and creating opportunities for the gospel to be known there.
If your interest in the city is just being piqued…
- Read. A good primer on the city is Why Cities Matter, by Stephen T. Um and Justin Buzzard. See other suggestions below.
- Discover. Seek out pastors or leaders engaged in city ministry, buy them lunch and ask questions about their ministry context. Your curiosity will be an encouragement.
- Pray. Find something that reminds you of the city and will remind you to pray (e.g. a refrigerator magnet, postcard in your Bible). Ask God to bring workers to the city.
- Give. Cities are expensive. Ministry start-ups there come with a financial challenge. Select an urban ministry, then give and pray.
If you’re already engaged in city ministry and desire to go deeper…
- Read. Understanding the significance of the gospel in the city is paramount. A good (deeper) read on this is Center Church, by Tim Keller. See other suggestions below.
- Learn. Get to know your city, through both research and discussions with civic leaders. Share your impressions with others committed to the same city, and see if you can deepen your understanding together.
- Partner. Ask God to connect you with an urban leader and discuss ways to partner together: local service projects, civic meetings, learning together, financially sponsoring an urban initiative.
- Pursue. Is God stirring a deeper personal calling to the city? Discuss this with another urban leader. Connect with others in the EFCA for deeper learning about urban ministry: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are deeply immersed in the city, living in the urban context…
- Connect. Often, challenges are overwhelming and the learning curve is steep. Band with like-minded urban leaders. Send us an email to connect further: email@example.com.
- Keep learning. Cities change rapidly, so urban leaders need to remain students. Keep reading. Consider the books suggested below.
- Give. You know all too well that resources in city ministry are limited, so keep on giving to others as well. Perhaps support an urban ministry outside the United States?
- Pray. Develop a small band of people to pray regularly for you, pray diligently for more workers and prayer-walk your streets regularly.
- Multiply. The vastness of cities require us to think in terms of multiplication not addition: Invest in future leaders, collaborate with others, reinvigorate your commitment to making disciplemakers.
- Center Church: Doing balanced, gospel-centered ministry in your city, by Tim Keller
- The Cat and the Toaster: Living system ministry in a technological age, by Douglas A. Hall
- Cities of God: The real story of how Christianity became an urban movement and conquered Rome, by Rodney Stark
- “Cities 2015”—individual city reports based on a comprehensive database that measures issues of faith for 119 different U.S. cities, released by Barna Group
- City of God, City of Satan, by Robert C. Linthicum
- Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life: Rethinking ministry to the poor, by Robert Lupton
- “Four Kinds of Churches in the City,” by Matt Carter, The Gospel Coalition, August 3, 2015
- Generous Justice: How God’s grace makes us just, by Tim Keller
- The Gospel as Center: Renewing our faith and reforming our ministry practices, edited by D. A. Carson and Timothy Keller
- The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City, by Alan Ehrenhalt
- Journal of Urban Mission—an online journal with regional editors to help emphasize Two-Thirds World authorship (along with writings from the Western nations)
- The Practitioner’s Guide: Building city gospel movements, by Tom White
- Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New urbanism and the Christian faith (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life), by Eric O. Jacobsen, Eugene H. Peterson
- ThrivingCities.com—initiative of the University of Virginia, offering insights for evaluating the well-being of communities
- To Transform a City: Whole church, whole gospel, whole city, by Eric Swanson and Sam Williams
- Triumph of the City: How our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier, and happier, by Edward Glaeser
- Urban Ministry: The kingdom, the city and the people of God, by Harvie M. Conn and Manuel Ortiz
- Vespas, Cafes, Singlespeed Bikes, and Urban Hipsters: Gentrification, urban mission, and church planting, by Sean Benesh and other contributors
- Why Cities Matter: To God, the culture, and the Church, by Stephen T. Um and Justin Buzzard