The Urban Face of Mission

Thesis & Summary

The thesis of this book is most clearly stated on page two in the introduction of the book, “this volume is intended to communicate some of Harvie’s concerns for world evangelization.”

This book was put together in the honor of the late Harvie Conn who was a man with great concerns about the poor, justice, and ethnic reconciliation in the cities. Each of the contributors wrote a chapter on some topic related to these things that Harvie was most passionate about.

The first part of the book communicated what Harvie taught about the important and strategic role of the cities in accomplishing God’s mission on earth.

The second part of the book communicated some of the challenges that we face today and will continue to face as the world becomes more and more urban.

The third part of the book communicates those issues that were near and dear to Harvie’s heart, namely, social justice and helping the poor. Harvie desired for the church to care for both the spiritual and the physical needs of the cities. Many of these ideas and changes in the church were never going to happen unless changes were made to the way the church trains its leaders. Since Harvie was a professor at a seminary he spoke often about the need for improved leadership development in order to meet these new urban challenges.

Part four of the book communicates some of these ideas that Harvie had addressed while he was a professor.

The last part of the book communicates Harvie’s concern for other nations and the spread of Christianity through the French-speaking world as well as in South Korea.

Evaluation & Application

It is difficult for me to evaluate whether or not this book accomplished the purpose that it set out to do since I did not know anything about Harvie Conn before reading it. However, going off of what was written about him in the introduction I do believe these contributors did a great job of communicating Harvie’s concerns for evangelization. Each of them addressed issues that Harvie was passionate about and several of them clearly were trying to think about their issue the way Harvie would have.

Overall, the book was good and had several very interesting chapters and important issues. It is not the best book to read from cover to cover because there is not a great flow from one chapter to the next. Some of the chapters are excellent like John Leonard’s chapter on the Canaanite woman and others were either a bit dry to read or topics that I did not find very interesting to read about.

In general I appreciate the attempts of people to speak about the need for both word and deed ministry in the church. I personally do not think these things need to be at odds with one another at all and should compliment each other well. I also believe it is important that we never forget the realities of eternal hell and the fleeting nature of our life here on earth. These truths should help us keep evangelism as the priority, but I believe evangelism should be constantly done in the contest of deed ministry. Therefore, from what I can tell Harvie’s seemed to get this reality and wanted to see it being done more.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Book Summaries, Church Planting, Discipleship, Evangelism, The Church

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