The inner city is defined by poverty—literally. The inner city has been defined as a region in a metropolitan area in which 20 percent or more of households live in poverty and where the median household income is 50 percent or less than that of the region as a whole. But how did the inner city become the inner city?
“‘Teacher,’ said John, ‘we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.’ ‘Don’t stop him!’ Jesus replied.” These words from Mark chapter 9 remind us that, whenever we arrive in a particular place to proclaim the gospel, there very well may be others who were there long before we arrived. And so, when planting a church in an urban context, how should we engage the congregations that are already there?
The gospel that we proclaim as believers in Jesus Christ is an all-sufficient for salvation. But the compassion of Jesus calls us not only to seek the salvation of people’s souls but also to care for physical and emotional needs. In urban contexts in particular, these needs always seem to be greater than the resources we have available. So how can Christians partner with organizations in their community to provide comprehensive help for their communities without compromising the gospel?
By Timothy Paul Jones
In 2019, the Dehoney Center for Urban Ministry Training is launching the Urban Ministry Podcast! Twice each month, Timothy Paul Jones—director of the Dehoney Center—interviews leaders who are serving God effectively in urban contexts. The purpose is to prepare you for effective ministry in the city. Click here to subscribe to this new resource: Urban Ministry Podcast.