URBAN MINISTRY – Social Ministry and Social Justice Among the Urban Poor
Part of the ministry resources on Christian Social Ministry, Social Justice. It is categorized in the site archive that is not updated past 2012.
- General Introductions and Strategies for Urban Ministry
- Generating Ideas and Enthusiasm for Urban Ministry
- Theology and Philosophy of Urban Ministry
- Related Ministry Resources
Urban ministry is a very specialized form of outreach. Those who engage it should do so only after they have consulted widely, perhaps even with specialists to help them understand their contexts. The resources below are not exhaustive, but representative of the field. They offer enough for church leaders to gain basic exposure to the dynamics of urban ministry. Yet it will probably be necessary to go well beyond what is listed.
General Introductions and Strategies for Urban Ministry
- Eric Swanson and Sam Williams, To Transform a City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City – Perhaps the best primer on urban ministry from a missional/evangelical perspective.
- Harvey Conn and Manuel Ortiz, Urban Ministry: The Kingdom, The City, and the People of God – An all-encompassing text on urban ministry. It is the best in-depth look at the subject, both theologically and practically.
- Matt Carter, Darrin Patrick, and Joel Lindsey, For the City: Proclaiming and Living Out the Gospel (Exponential Series) — An inspiring story of how two young men activated their dreams to make a kingdom impact in major urban centers.
- Roger Greenway and Timothy Monsma, Cities: Missions’ New Frontier – Intended as a text on urban ministry, and though not as comprehensive as Conn and Ortiz’s Urban Ministry, it should be consulted as a substantial companion volume.
- John M. Perkins, With Justice for All: A Strategy for Community Development, Third Edition — Lays out Perkins’ and the Christian Community Development Association’s philosophy and strategy for community ministries. A more academic version of the same material is Restoring At Risk Communities.
- John M. Perkins, Restoring At Risk Communities: Doing It Together and Doing It Right (Official Handbook of the Christian Community Development Association) — An in-depth how-to manual that explains how to apply the philosophy of the Christian Community Development Foundation. It is a more academic version of material found in With Justice for All.
- Amy Sherman, Restorers of Hope: Reaching the Poor in Your Community With Church-Based Ministries that Work — A standard work that is still reference by most resources on the subject of urban ministry. Includes a chapter on “Ten Steps to Beginning a Community Ministry.”
Generating Ideas and Enthusiasm for Urban Ministry
- Barbara J. Elliott, Street Saints: Renewing America’s Cities – A responsibly written collection of real stories of urban transformation.
- Nile Harper, Urban Churches Vital Signs: Beyond Charity Toward Justice — Tells the stories of twenty-eight urban churches in fifteen major cities across the nation during the 1990s that were engaged in transformation, expanding God’s justice, peace, and love in the world.
- Eric O. Jacobsen, Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith – Helps those who are new to urban ministry overcome the antiurban bias by celebrating the unique and desirable features of this setting
- Robert D. Lupton, Renewing the City: Reflections on Community Development and Urban Renewal – Recounts the Old Testament story of Nehemiah as a role model for community transformation and renewal.
Theology and Philosophy of Urban Ministry
Each of these resources conveys an important theological or philosophical perspective on urban ministry. They are not philosophically opposed to each other, and when viewed together offer a more fully-orbed picture of the complexities of urban outreach.
- Ray Bakke, A Theology as Big as the City — Not theology in the strict sense, but a substantive journal of the faith, experiences, and sage advice from Ray Bakke, a prominent author and practitioner in urban ministry.
- Tony Campolo and Bruce Main, Revolution and Renewal: How Churches are Saving Our Cities — Offers a balanced discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the political left and right, respectively, on how deal with issues affecting the needs of our cities.
- John B. Hayes, Sub-merge: Living Deep in a Shallow World – Service, Justice, and Contemplation Among the World’s Poor – Reflects Hayes’ work with the organization he directs, InnerCHANGE, that sub-merges, i.e. sub, going beneath the consumer mirage of status, style, spending, and speed; and merge, finding life with Christ among the poor.
- Christopher L. Heuretz and Christine D. Pohl, Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission (Resources for Reconciliation) — Presents an alternative paradigm for mission, where people are not objectified as potential converts but encountered in a relationship of mutuality and reciprocity. Recommends befriending those on the margins of society by practicing hospitality and welcome, we create communities where righteousness and justice can be lived out.
- Eric O. Jacobsen, The Space Between: A Christian Engagement With the Built Environment – A substantive resource, providing a theological and philosophical grounding for ministry in the urban environment.
- Robert Linthicum, Transforming Power: Biblical Strategies for Making a Difference in Your Community – Encourages exemplary and influential relationships with decision makers toward making a difference in our communities.
- Robert D. Lupton, Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor — A plea for “gentrification with justice,” that advocates the well-being of the community and the interests of the most vulnerable, both at the same time,” to have a community that is both thriving and just. Associated with the Christian Community Development Association.
- Robert D. Lupton, Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It) – Urges us to step away from spontaneous, often destructive acts of compassion, and toward thoughtful paths of substantive community development.
- Stephen Mott, Biblical Ethics and Social Change, Second Edition – Promotes ethical practices of social change through evangelism, counter community, civil disobedience, armed revolution, and political reform.
- Ronald J. Sider, John M. Perkins, Wayne L. Gordon, and F. Albert Tizon, Linking Arms, Linking Lives: How Urban-Suburban Partnerships Can Transform Communities — A definitive book on the philosophy of urban-suburban partnerships for effective ministry among the poor.
- Heidi Unruh and Ronald Sider, Saving Souls, Serving Society: Understanding the Faith Factor in Church-Based Social Ministry — Helps churches distinguish between faith-based social action and secular activism through a qualitative case-study of fifteen churches that are active in both evangelism and social action. Companion to Churches that Make a Difference, that draws on the case studies to offer a more prescriptive plan for holistic ministry
See Other Ministry Resources on Social Ministry, Social Justice, and Urban Ministry:
- Social Ministry, Social Justice, Urban Ministry – INTRODUCTION
- Theological and Philosophical Foundations of Social Ministry, Social Justice, Urban Ministry
- SPIRITUALITY for Social Ministry, Social Justice, and Urban Ministry
- STRATEGIES For Christian Social Ministry and Social Justice
- URBAN MINISTRY – Strategies For Social Ministry and Social Justice Among the Urban Poor
- Christian Perspectives on POLITICS and Church-State Relations
- Christian Perspectives on ECONOMICS and Public Policy
See Resources on Over 100 Areas of Christian Ministry: