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Why Cities Matter: To God, the Culture, and the Church
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Why Cities Matter: To God, the Culture, and the Church

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  190 ratings  ·  25 reviews
More people live in cities now than at any other time in human history, presenting a historic opportunity for Christians to influence the majority of the world. Unfortunately, most Christian literature about the city focuses solely on its problems (crime, homelessness, etc.), rather than providing a comprehensive analysis of the city that informs, instructs, and inspires. ...more
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Published April 30th 2013 by christianaudio (first published March 31st 2013)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  190 ratings  ·  25 reviews


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Barnabas Piper
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More academic than I expected, especially in the first half. But that isn't a bad thing. It incorporated quite a few statistics, but used them well to show the significance of the city. The middle of the book was it's richest part, especially the chapter on contextualization. I especially appreciated that the book avoided droning, repetitiveness, or dragging. It remained concise and got its point across well. Well worth the the time of anyone in ministry.
Keenan Casteel
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, Um and Buzzard launch a full on assault on the inward focused churches and Christians that hide in the suburbs, afraid of the city's liberal culture. Through stats and historical analysis, the authors show how Christians, once so city centric, have moved away from cities while lost people are moving to cities in greater numbers than ever before. Christians have fallen behind and we are in danger of losing the city. The authors challenge the reader to passionately love, pray for, and rea ...more
B.Cough
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Winsomely proving the value and purpose of the city. The authors utilize statistics, sociology, and scripture to to give the reader a framework for the importance of cities and how the church should engage them. Short and concise. Hand it to your Christian friend who is always hating on the city.
Dave Courtney
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
(3 and a half stars)
If you are familiar at all with Keller's writing/teaching you will likely recognize his long standing passion for urban centers and urban ministry in the contents of this brief and concise work. That is not to say that Why Cities Matter: To God, the Culture, and the Church does not have something to offer on its own right. It is nicely organized, exploring six components of the city in light of history, theology, modern living and missions.

It moves forward on the premise tha
...more
John Rakshith
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Providing a biblical theology of city and with current statistics, the authors provoke Christians, pastors and churches the need for urban church planting efforts without discouraging ministries currently engaged in rural ministry. However, I have two qualms about the book. My first qualm is a lack of distinction between the work of the church gathered and the church scattered. My second qualm (second in its degree of discomfort) is the lack of vision to fill the reader with a vision to bring th ...more
Patrick Schlabs
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This little book is an excellent introduction urban ministry. The authors provide a solid biblical/theological foundation for city ministry and helpful frameworks for contextualized ministry (influenced largely by Tim Keller). Highly recommended.
Michael
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church, mission
Good ideas, some great stuff on exegeting the culture, but I wanted a stronger biblical case for city-centric church planting. They admit several times that they might sound like they're overstating their case, and in the end that's what a lot of it felt like.
Kathryn Bronn
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Can one single book change your entire view on civilization, on urban vs rural ministry, on the role of the church in the highly populated areas of the world? I say yes, as this one did. This was given to me by a ministry leader of mine, while I struggled to live in a Latin America city (after spending most of my life in small town America). It was and will be a game changer for a long time to come. Brilliant. Practical. Eye opening. Read it.
Nick Cady
Worth reading

The second half of the book was better than the first, which seemed a bit repetitive, in fact once the author even says that he is being repetitive-and he's right. The first half of the book is about the importance of cities and the second half is about having a ministry vision for your city.
There are a few times when I felt that in the first half the author stretched to make his point. For example, saying that Jesus' ministry was urban-focused - yet the gospels show Jesus minister
...more
Bob Allen
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Keller lite" — the content of this book is not frivolous or unimportant or superficial or spurious. On the contrary, this is an important book for anyone who wants to have a deep spiritual and transformational impact on a city. It covers much of the same material as Keller did in "Center Church". In fact, Um and Buzzard acknowledge that they relied heavily on Keller. If you really want to dig deep into urban transformation from a spiritual perspective, read Keller. Excellent sections: Ch 1 The ...more
Michael
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A quick and easy read about urban ministry. Neatly organized into six chapters the authors highlight the growth of cities from the ancient world to the present. In 1900 only 14 percent of the world population lived in cities. Today that figure has increased to 68.7 percent with a projection of 86.2 percent by 2050. The fact is that cities are here to stay. Some Christians have tried to avoid them, but cities are not inherently evil as evidenced by the biblical Jerusalem and ultimately the descen ...more
Chin Hwa
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
A brief, digestible book on God's heart for the city and how the gospel--the good news that God did not leave us alone in our sin to face His wrath but sent His only Son Jesus to die in our place, rise again to defeat sin and death, and restore our relationship with God--shapes our attitudes to the city. We can discern what the city (obviously an amalgamation of subcultures and Babel-like narratives) wants, aspires to, values, and fears. Some of these aspirations and values will need to be confr ...more
Geoff
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on the reasons for a renewed focus on cities in Christian ministry. The authors both pull from their respective life-experiences and a wealth of statistical facts to make a coherent and compelling case for the necessity of engaging in ministry to promote the welfare of the urban centers and the people who flock to them in growing numbers every year. An insightful and challenging read. Definitely recommended for Christians hoping to make an impact in the world, especially if they r ...more
Greg
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great book for both church planters and to anyone who wonders why city churches and urban ministries need to be a priority. Being from a small town and only living in towns that have been a little bit bigger, I learned a lot about the needs of the city and a desire to reach them because that is where more and more people are gathering and it is a place of influence and worship.

This book is easily adaptable for other ministries as well. I will use parts of it in addressing the needs of the col
...more
Aaron Carpenter
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Though I'm not entirely sure whether the authors are coming from an a-mil or post-mil perspective, they create a compelling argument for the church to refocus its priorities on urban church plants. And not only an argument, but a plan for addressing the multifaceted challenges of the city. And not only cities proper - though that is their emphasis - but in any local ministry, this book offers a helpful guide for contextualized ministry and natural points of contact between the culture and the Go ...more
Christina
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-city
This is a fantastic, readable and relatively short treatise on the importance of cities to our world, shaping culture and society, and why Christians should care about them. As a lover of personal stories and the very practical and applicable, I would have only requested that the authors include more anecdotes of their experiences in their cities.
Anthony
Jul 20, 2016 rated it liked it
This was not a bad book, it just left me wanting more. I feel like this book is basically anything Tim Keller has ever said on cities. It just might be better to read Center Church from Tim Keller instead. It wasn't too original. I did appreciate chapter 1 on the importance of cities. Again, it wasn't bad just not that original.
Daniel Wells
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very solid book. There isn't a tonight new material here if you've read Keller and Conn on the city. Basically, if you have Center Church, you may not need to buy this.

But, the book's clarity and brevity make it a solid item on one's bookshelf. Um and Buzzard pack in a lot of content in 150 pages.
Brian Cooper
All in all this is a good book. The final chapter may have helped lay a more clear groundwork (theologically) if placed in the front. At times there is a Utilitarian undertone, but the final chapter helps eliminate some of that unease.
Erin
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took me forever to read! It reads much like a dissertation, and was pretty clinical. While those are not bad things, the book is full of great ideas and thoughts that push you, it just made it hard to sit down and read at times.
Daniel Alvers
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. I enjoyed it very much.
Megan Allred
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
While this book was very informative and had some great points it was also fairly repetitive. Other than that though it's a great book that I would recommend to those involved in ministry.
Jordan
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A short but compelling argument that if we truly love people, we will love the city. Essential reading for any Christian or non-Christian city-lover.
Dr. Z
Helpful overview of the importance of cities in mission. Recommended as an introduction to this area.
Gary Paulson
Dec 12, 2013 marked it as to-read
The 2014 Christianity Today Book Awards: Christianity & Culture
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Stephen Um (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is senior minister of Citylife Church in Boston, Massachusetts, and president of the Center for Gospel Culture. He serves on the board of directors for the Gospel Coalition, is an adjunct faculty member at a number of theological seminaries, and is an associate training director for Redeemer City to City Asia. He is the author of several books and articl ...more
“Post-Christian societies are cultures where the Christian worldview was once the dominant worldview. Many European cities were once known for having a thriving Christian influence and a population that largely subscribed to the central tenets of Christian orthodoxy. Take” 0 likes
“We must free ourselves from our tendency to see cities as their buildings, and remember that the real city is made of flesh, not concrete.” 0 likes
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