Why is theological training vital for urban mission?

We are committed to training people for urban mission. A significant part of that training includes practical experience of Gospel ministry but it also includes a lot of “Theology.”

Now, “Theology” at times has had a bad reputation. It can be a bit of a dirty word, especially amongst those who see the urgency of the mission and get frustrated by those who seem to be bogged down in the theory.

Theology is often associated with academia. It is seen as remote, cerebral and out of touch. It has often been linked to liberalism and the denial of Scripture’s authority and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Yet, theology, properly speaking and done properly is the planter and the preacher’s best friend. Indeed, no-one should be preaching without taking time to study some theology. Those seem like strong words, so why do I say them? Continue reading


The Urban Forgotten

A few days back I wrote about the fragmentation of the working classes. I want to pick up on that and focus on one group because I think it has important implications for how we approach urban mission. 

Urban Mission is a broad church. The City to City initiative considers itself urban. There is  a lot of attention in reaching millennial sceptics, students, graduates and city centre workers. That’s brilliant, however, it’s not primarily what we have in mind when we talk about urban church. Rather, we are thinking about our inner cities (un-gentrified) and council estates. Now, I think the temptation is to have one aspect of this in view and it distorts our vision. We recognise ( though admittedly not enough) that there is a group of people that have been left behind, those devastated by gang and drug culture, those suffering from intense levels of deprivation. We then imagine a particular type of worker who can reach such people, one or two of them exist, they are often robust and charismatic, they need to be. We make that the image of our ideal urban worker, we assume most people don’t fit that mould ( they don’t) and we think that by giving them an occasional platform that we are doing our bit. Continue reading

Getting Past the Urban Mission Impasse (Part 3): Sending Workers into the Harvest Field

Please bear with me as I get a little bit repetitive about this one.  How did the first churches get started all around the Mediterranean?  How did churches start in India, China and across Africa? Well, if you go to Acts, you could argue that some of the church planting happened as Christians moved out from Jerusalem and scattered across Judea and Samaria.  Maybe that gets a little bit close to our model of sending groups of people out to plant churches in the areas they move into. Continue reading

Getting past the Urban Mission impasse

I feel that we are at a bit of an impasse with urban mission. I have participated in numerous conversations over the past couple of years about the need for people and resources into urban priority areas. However, those conversations have been quite frustrating at times because: Continue reading

Come over and help us … and be helped

In 2010, a group of church leaders committed together to try and encourage the planting or revitalisation of 20 churches over the next 10 years. As a result of this, 2020 Birmingham was launched. In 2018, they are well on their way to their target.

2020 Birmingham encouraged us to think seriously about our wider responsibilities to see the Gospel go out in Bearwood and Beyond, to Smethwick, Sandwell and into West Birmingham in one direction and the Black Country in the other. Continue reading

The Subversive City


We have an inbuilt, deep seated desire to belong.  Humans are social creatures, we look for company, we seek to build partnerships. We are at our best when we work together.  We have a desire to create, to build, to develop and improve. Continue reading