Many urban congregations remember days of fame and fortune—days when their prominence downtown or in city neighborhoods mattered. Population shifts, the decline of congregations and neighborhoods, and demographic changes depleted the dreams of many urban churches. But not all churches gave up hope. Many congregations are struggling to survive, but thousands of urban churches are thriving again. Churches with revived hope learn to let go of nostalgic dreams and tired habits and to walk with God into a new day of vibrant mission and ministry.
Donna Claycomb Sokol and Roger Owens share lessons they’ve learned on the job and from other urban pastors. Along the way, they challenge clichés about church leadership and strategic planning by showing what congregational renewal can look like and how it can become a reality. Each chapter features a set of practical guidelines for leading a congregation to address the questions that matter most.
“The urban church can be quite a challenge. I know because I’ve served a couple. Now, two thoughtful pastors with actual urban church experience take an affectionate, positive, honest, and hopeful look at the urban church and give practical wisdom for the revival of languishing urban congregations. There’s a remarkable revival of the urban church in North America. Donna and Roger can help you be part of it!” —William H. Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC; retired bishop, The United Methodist Church
“Three things excite me most about this book: First, these two young pastors understand the strategic importance of urban ministry and are passionately committed to it. Second, they show that when you turn from tired ‘church growth’ and corporate paradigms, choosing rather to model your ministry on Jesus, new life happens. And third, they explain that transformation is about journeying faithfully with the questions rather than looking for quick-fix techniques. This book could change your ministry.” —Peter Storey, South African church leader; W. Ruth and A. Morris Williams Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC