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For the City: Proclaiming and Living Out the Gospel

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  269 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Within ten years, nine out of ten people will claim “no religious affiliation.” Many of these people will live in urban areas. Church leaders must learn how to effectively engage in ministry with this urban core, a group that includes both the poor and marginalized as well as the wealthy and influential. This book will guide readers in developing a philosophy of ministry t ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 7th 2011 by Zondervan (first published April 1st 2011)
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Josh Kopp
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forward by Chris Tomlin (Chris actually worked with Matt Carter at Woodlands United Methodist church). Cool connections. Chris actually pushed Matt to start a new church plant.

What makes a great church? Society says..."a church that meets our needs." But good preaching, good music, and good programs don't define a the successful church. "A great church, a healthy church, is one in which Jesus Christ is found in word and deed." A successful church has members who move and act. Through sac
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Being familiar with the Austin Stone church, I decided to read a book by one of its pastors. For the City talks about a lot of themes that the church talks about in weekly sermons, and advocates through different programs. The two authors (the other, Darrin Patrick, is a pastor in St. Louis) take turns authoring chapters, talking about how each church tries to connect with the local community. Much of what Matt Carter from the Austin Stone was writing was pretty familiar to me, but I thought it ...more
Nov 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The reviews looked phenomenal, and the goals were heart-warming, but in the end, it was more about two guys who started pastor led churches. They talked of successes and failures, but very little of disciple making and reproducing.
Rusty Graves
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I enjoyed the book and that it was written out of their experience as planters in their respective cities.
Malcolm Lanham
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good resource for sharing the Gospel of Christ in our cities
Jared Totten
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
"If your church closed its doors tomorrow, would your city even know it was gone?"

Church planting and community transformation are both hot topics in Christian print right now. For the City by Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter lies at the intersection of those two topics. However, the book grows out of the blood, sweat, and passion of two churches and pastors and is anything but opportunistic. Indeed it is a passionate plea to the body of Christ to live lives changed by the gospel that engage the c
Bj Stricklin
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is an essential read for any church leaders who are wrestling with the tensions of attractional church, missional movements, etc etc etc.

Matt Carter and Darrin Patrick put some very real, down-to-earth skin on what it means to create "missional communities" in our churches... groups of people who are committed to living out the gospel in the context that they live in. This is not just a book about theory. It's an honest reflection from two war-torn pastors who have led their churches t
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
gospel-centered overview of urban focused planting work.

humbly presented stories of God's grace fruitful times and lean times...including areas of chastening and discipline.

left me with a desire to reach into the needy areas of my community capitalizing on the relationships and oppurtunities God has already given me

clear discussion of contextualization with helpful real-life stories of over-contextualizaion and under-contextualizaion.

analysis of in-the-city, against-the-city, of-the-city and fo
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
My full review is available at Blogging Theologically:

What does it mean for a church to be “for the city”? As humanity increasingly becomes more urbanized, this question grows in importance. Pastors Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter have spent the last several years of their ministries trying to figure out what that means and what it looks like for the church to serve the city to the glory of God. And in their new book, For the City: Proclaiming and Living Out the Gospel, Patrick and Carter share w
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
The world is becoming increasingly urban – and quickly. It is easy for churches to feel overwhelmed, embattled, and confused. Rather than responding to the city by fortifying or compromising, Patrick and Carter unpack what it means to be gospel-centered churches that works for the welfare of the city (Jeremiah 29:4-9) to the glory of God (not churches simply IN, AGAINST, or OF the city, but churches FOR the city). For The City tells the stories of Patrick (Journey Church; St. Louis, MO) and Cart ...more
Adam Lockhart
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Many books on church planting or even ministry in general are laid out with "do this" steps that aren't always useful in every context. This book breaks that mold. While using personal stories and examples Carter and Patrick do an excellent job of laying out high level strategies. Instead of insisting that their exact actions are "right" for all churches they ask questions that force us to wrestle with the big picture which is essentially this "How will be a church that if we closed our doors to ...more
Ben Adkison
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Last weekend, myself, Logan, and Gibby headed off to the mountains for our first ever Basileia Church staff retreat. We had a blast, spent much needed time in strategy planning and prayer, and discussed a book by Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter entitled For the City. The book describes what it looks like for a church to so impact a local culture that the community notices and loves the church, even if they don 19t agree with everything the church stands for. It 19s a rather simple book with a lot ...more
Brent Rosendal
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great book. One unlike any other book I have read before. The book talks about church planting in an urban context. Unlike other books that give more of a how to on church planting, this one shares personal stories about what the author's had done and their successes. On top of that, they talk about their failures and in my opinion, this was the strongest portion of the book, although I liked the entire book. As a foreign missionary, some of the book was very American however there are many pr ...more
William Mcneely
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really loved a discussion on not just the why, but the HOW TO, reach the city. To not be a church that is either against the city, of the city, in the city, but rather FOR THE CITY. The honesty of the authors failures was a sobering warning of the hardships of the pastorate. But also encouragement that although many things are out of your control as a pastor, God is the one who will sustain you and will not only teach, but discipline and train to be the pastor who isn't self-sufficient but who ...more
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ministry, missions
This is a fantastic book. It is practical, readable, and very honest. Matt and Darrin have made plenty of mistakes in their respective ministry journeys, and they share these honestly, as well as the lessons they've learned. The stories of their lives, and of the two churches they now lead, is very encouraging. Matt and Darrin are well-grounded, in the Reformed Baptist tradition, but they know how to make the never-changing Gospel relevant to the people in the cities they serve. Another must-rea ...more
Luís Alexandre Ribeiro Branco
I brought this book after reading the Darrin's book about the church planter, which I liked a lot. This book helps us think in different ways of being effective as a church for the city. It carries a bit of pastoral advice, evangelism ideas and urban theology. Nevertheless it is a book mainly based in a way the churches and the cities in America are based. Very different from the European way. It also carries a lot of the American pragmatism and most of the culture in Europe doesn't work pragmat ...more
Jeff Boettcher
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Two great pastors disclosing their hearts for urban church planting. They write with thought provoking insight, refreshing missional clarity and pastoral hearts. At times they seem to elevate the importance of urban planting and their model for doing so. However, while I wish they had a broader vision for the variety of ways that churches can be planted, I appreciate the example of their heart for the mission of the church.
Mary A
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found this book very inspiring. It is great to hear the real-life stories of two successful urban church plants and the work God is doing in their churches and cities. It really opened my mind to the possibilities of what God can do in a city and the importance of being open to helping the whole city, not just your church. A lot of the behind the scenes details were very encouraging to me personally. A great read.
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-read
Very insightful book on the influence the church has lost in cities and how to get it back. The authors are both church planters so they give some practical advise to church planters but they also share great truth for every church leader to consider. Their topics range from developing ways to serve the people in your community to contextualization in preaching to equipping your staff. Very good book.
Ben Titsworth
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
What I liked most about this book, is that for patrick it was definitely a sequel to church planter. Hearing the accounts of both him and carter's planting stories was extremely humbling. To see where these guys started and how broken at times they still are. Honest read from both, no sugar coating, just raw in the moment writing on ministering to Gods people. ...more
Barnabas Piper
The best aspect of this book is that it isn't a defense of the city or a comparison between the city and the burbs. Instead it is aimed at those who already has a heart for the city or feel called there. It is immensely practical and deeply theological. It is moving and significant. Anyone with a heart for serving the city would benefit from it. ...more
Dec 28, 2011 rated it liked it
I absolutely loved the autobiographical components of this book. The writers especially Patrick so graciously and honestly detail the up and downs of their church plants. Those sections were extremely compelling. A really strong book for a niche audience of church planters interested in city ministry.
Mar 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nyc-box-8
Good introduction for those wondering how churches can be for the city. The most helpful parts were the confessions and advice from the planting mistakes of Pastors Patrick and Carter. One thing missing was a list of resources for further reading on missional communities, urban ministry, and church planting that the authors introduce but don't delve into in this book. ...more
Caroline Fontenot
May 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting read, a little out of context for me (the majority of the book was about church planting). Loved hearing the story behind one of my favorite churches, Austin Stone. Worth the read for the chapter "community" alone. ...more
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
What I liked best about this book is that it chronicles the birth and growth of The Austin Stone. If you want to understand the heartbeat of my church, read this book!
Becca Harris
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent, easy to read book about gospel centered change in your city. It's more than social justice, it's about how to help those around us now that we have been helped by the grace of Jesus. ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great FOR the city! God is glorified when His Church lives out the love, grace & mercy of Jesus in the midst of the city.
Justin Farley
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
a timely read #forthecity @darrinpatrick @joel_lindsey @churchplanting @zondervan ...more
Joshua Hedger
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good, practical read on the churches call to reach the city it's in. ...more
Marcus Mackey
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ignites your imagination for what the church could be in your city.
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Darrin Patrick served as pastor at The Journey. He also serves as the chaplain to the St. Louis Cardinals. Patrick is the author of The Dude’s Guide to Manhood and Church Planter and co-author of Replant and For the City. He and his family live in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Juneteenth, observed on June 19th each year, is an American holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the last enslaved people in Galveston,...
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“In fact, as we looked at the history of larger cities, we found evidence of this in the way they were laid out and designed. Older towns once had a town square that operated as the functional center of the city. It was surrounded by the institutions of commerce and trade, law and government, the arts and places for dialogue. But alongside these key cultural institutions was always the church. The entire city would be situated around a center, and that’s what tied life in the city together. Again, the church was always an integral part of that connection. So we wondered: Was it possible to give new life to that long-lost vision of connection and unity, where multiple institutions came together for the common good of the city? Could it happen once again?” 0 likes
“Thus, in the 1850s a lot of London churches did what a lot of American churches have done during the last thirty years: they fled the cities. These churches moved their locations to the outskirts of London. But Metropolitan Tabernacle, pastored by Charles Spurgeon, decided, “We’re not going to do that. We’re going to stay here. We see this as an opportunity for the gospel.”3” 0 likes
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