Who really believes in a trickle down effect?

The trickle down theory, is the concept that if the wealthy are free to get wealthier then there will be a trickle down of that wealth to the middle and working classes so all benefit. This means if you cut taxes at the top, then eventually all will eventually benefit. The approach is particularly associated with Thatcherite and Blairite economics. Continue reading

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6 Reasons why we have failed to reach working class and deprived communities (Unreached)

In his book Unreached, Tim Chester identifies 6 reasons why the church has struggled to reach working class and deprived communities. Continue reading

Getting to know the West Midlands

So, you are thinking about pastoral ministry in an urban area, maybe as a trainee, pastor, church planter or part of a revitalisation team. Where do you start? One thing I would encourage you to do is spend some time getting to know the area, getting a feel for the communities and cultures.  There’s a good role model for this. Paul spent time walking around Athens, observing. Continue reading

Implied/Institutional bias and the old boys network

One of the ongoing conversations on blogs and twitter is about Gospel engagement in urban working class communities.

Ian Williamson has identified two problems.

“One is lack of people willing to serve the W/C…. The other is excluding the W/C from ministry, mission and training which is what I was talking about. Both problems stem from having a majority culture make the rules”[1]

He gives the example that when strategic events are planned then if he gets an invite it’s not to the planning stages.

“….I am the only non university educated, indigenous, working class pastor in the North East (that I know of) and I’ve never been involved in any strategic planning for the area, why is that?” [2]

As a working class, non-graduate his experience is that he is excluded/ignored. Given that he is a frontline pioneer planting a church in one of the very areas we need to reach, then he’s surely the very sort of person we need to be listening to. Continue reading

Church planting: Can two views be right at the same time?

Pre-millenialists believe that Jesus will return and reign for 1000 years. Until then, the church must patiently endure and remain faithful. There will be times of persecution including one great tribulation. Christians should expect to be in the minority.

Post-Millenialists  believe that Christ’s millennial reign is happening now, before the return of Christ. They expect great growth in the church and Christians to have influence and power, even seeing Christian governments formed.

Both viewpoints claim to have evidence that their view is right. Pre-Mills point to the way that the church is small minority and the rise of hostile secular governments. Post-Mills point to great gospel growth around the world. Evidence seems to support both perspectives because at any one time, the church is seeing fruitful growth and struggle depending where you are.

I was thinking about this when reading two articles about church planting last week. Stephen Kneale argues that church planting has become popular -it’s the in vogue thing to do and there’s a certain status that goes with being a planter.  Ryan Burton King has responded by arguing that planting carries very little honour and there’s very little interest in  church planting.

Can both be right? Continue reading

The danger of taking shortcuts in urban mission

I’ve suggested that the first step in “urban mission” is to step into and live in the culture. JH Bavinck writes about this stage in “The Science of Missions”

He is of course writing about traditional cross-cultural mission and he is writing 60 years ago but in that context, he says about the missionary:

“as soon as he sets foot in the place where he is going to work, he must face the question as to how he should approach the people. How must he win their confidence? How can he understand their inner life?” [1]

One of the biggest challenges is that the missionary is so completely different to the people he is going to witness to. Continue reading

#ActBC Trainee opportunities

We have opportunities for people to train with us in urban mission and church planting.  We are looking for individuals and couples who believe that they have a calling to share the good news about Jesus in our urban communities with a particular focus on estate and inner city ministry. Continue reading