Journey into urban mission (part 2: My story with some observations)

Dave preaching at Bearwood Chapel

I grew up in Bradford West Yorkshire. I wasn’t an estate kid, the small cluster of owner-occupied houses where I grew up were nestled in between the large estates that dominate South Bradford. I went to the local comprehensive. The school was about 50% white working class and 50% Asian predominantly Muslim. Continue reading

Journey into urban mission (part 1)

Last week the Bishop of Burnley challenged visitors to the New Wine festival about mission to the poor. His charge was that the church had forgotten the poor and that event the recent upturn in church planting was primarily in student and wealthy areas. Continue reading

How might a pioneer church plant happen?

One of our #PlantBC aims is to support and encourage pioneer church plants.  A pioneer church plant happens when just one or two people start to reach a community with the Gospel. Over time as people respond to the good news they start to gather together for prayer, Bible teaching and praise.  This is different to a mother-daughter church plant where you send maybe 30-40 people from an existing congregation to start a church.  Continue reading

What does urban mission and ministry actually mean?

What do we mean when we talk about urban ministry?  When we talk about an “Urban area” at its simplest, we are distinguishing between urban and rural -between built up, heavily populated areas, towns, cities, conurbations and less densely populated areas, villages, hamlets etc. There is of course the “suburban” category used to identify outlying, reasonably prosperous suburbs of towns and cities. Continue reading

So you want to do urban mission?

I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be involved in urban mission whether that’s pastoring an established church, working with an existing church to see revitalisation or helping to plant a new church.

There’s so much attention starting to go into how best to serve the Gospel in urban and multi-ethnic contexts and there’s some great people around with lots of experience both of making mistakes and getting things wrong and of seeing God work in the middle of mess to bring blessing and fruit.

So, whether or not you’re just starting out and testing a calling, looking for training and a way in – or you are already engaged in urban ministry, here are some great places to find support and encouragement. Continue reading

The urban mission field is not a playground

There are a number of parachurch organisations dedicated to encouraging people to get involved in evangelism and world mission. There’s often a focus on young people and an emphasis on short term missions. Continue reading

A fringe movement?

CPI’s Hub magazine focuses on urban planting this month

I was talking to a friend and Gospel Partner the other day and he described his longing to see a Gospel Movement reaching into our urban areas. He also expressed the concern that work in our urban areas is too often seen as a fringe thing for the mavericks. 

Alongside that I’ve picked up on some real tensions among those working in urban areas – even an air of grievance. This is reflected in recent letters to Evangelicals Now expressing concern that church planting is targeted at student, graduate and more prosperous areas.  Additionally, on twitter and blogs I see the occasional challenge to put workers, funding and resourcing into neglected urban areas instead of into student/graduate areas.

In response to the letters in Evangelicals Now, I wrote a couple of letters of my own. I argued that

          There are natural reasons why we see a lot of activity and movement among student and graduates.

          We should not decry what God is doing in those areas. Those mission fields bring their own challenges and so we should praise God when there is fruit Continue reading