To Transform a City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City  -     By: Eric Swanson, Sam William
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To Transform a City: Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole City

Zondervan / 2010 / Hardcover

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What if your church could take God's good news to the whole city? Visionary trailblazers Swanson and Williams encourage kingdom-minded ministry leaders to "dream big" on behalf of their urban neighborhoods. Discover effective and proven ways that your congregation can mobilize for spiritual impact and partner with other community organizations for societal good! 192 pages, hardcover from Zondervan.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0310325862
ISBN-13: 9780310325864
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

In the year 2007, the number of people living in the cities of the world—finally and irreversibly—exceeded the number of people living in rural areas. The earth’s population is now more urban than rural, and Christian leaders are trying to figure out what this means for the church. Pastors and kingdom-minded leaders know they need to engage the surrounding community with the gospel but are unsure about how to do so. Ministering in diverse and populous areas brings a unique set of challenges and promises. Evangelistic strategies that work in rural areas seem to bounce off of people in the cities, forcing church leaders to reevaluate church effectiveness. They see that the arena for significant impact is the surrounding community. The wide-open potential for spiritual and social change on this larger scale requires that leaders leverage the multivalent domains of their communities to solve problems the entire city cares about. Eric Swanson and Sam Williams have been working together with missional leaders from cities around the world trying to discover examples and principles of city transformation. They try, investigate, and share effective and proven ways for ministry leaders to mobilize for spiritual impact and partner with other community organizations for societal good. This book is a call to action for spiritual and societal transformation. The authors begin casting their vision for God’s work in cities with an overview of the importance of cities in the twenty-first century. They address the process of community transformation along with examples of where and how cities have been changed for the good throughout history. They challenge readers to a vibrant kingdom-orientation in their ministries and use the concepts of “whole church, whole gospel, and whole city” to explain this large vision. They encourage people of good faith to work together with people of goodwill for the common benefit of cities around the world. To Transform a City is a timely, compelling book that helps readers explore the reality of cities, the potential of their own communities, and the broad strategies churches and Christian leaders need for kingdom impact.

Author Bio

Eric Swanson is a missional leadership specialist with Leadership Network, leading initiatives with externally focused churches that are missionally engaging their communities, cities, and the world.  He is coauthor of The Externally Focused Church (Group, 2004), The Externally Focused Life  (Group, 2009), and The Externally Focused Quest  (Jossey Bass, 2010). He lives in Louisville, Colorado, with his wife, Liz, and enjoys reading, blogging, photography, cooking, travel, and good coffee. Sam Williams is the codirector of Vision San Diego, a coalition of 200 public, private, and not-for-profit sector organizations working together to serve San Diego.  He was a pastor for 35 years, a seminary professor, has planted 13 churches, and is a church and leadership consultant. He lives in San Diego with his wife, Nancy, and loves books, movies, and loving on his grandkids.

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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    City Transformation and the Whole Gospel
    January 15, 2011
    Alan Johnston
    God is working in cities. That's not to say that He isn't working in rural settings and so forth, but people everywhere are finding that when we engage cities, taking the complete gospel to the whole city, lasting transformation for the Kingdom is taking place. That is the premise of To Transform a City by Eric Swanson and Sam Williams.

    They begin by building 'a case for cities.' From defining cities, to historical evidence of what has aided cities, to models for cities, to reasons to engage the cities, they make a case for the importance of cities, sociologically and spiritually alike. It sets the tone for the rest of the book, which deals with city transformation, spiritually and otherwise. If cities are going to change, it starts with individual transformation, which leads to church transformation, which leads to community and cultural transformation. It is about big picture transformation that begins on the individual level and moves up to wider reaching and lasting change.

    Chapter three looks at understanding the Kingdom of God, the message of the Kingdom, the values of the kingdom and engaging others in the Kingdom. Chapter four is a fascinating look at historical examples of transforming power, from the early Christians, through medieval and middle ages, to more modern examples, calling on believers to reverse the recent reversal and get back to fully living out the good news in our communities. Next comes a call for unity and the whole Church working together, rather than merely as individual units, in order to do more and to be more effective, and to incorporate the whole Gospel into the transforming Kingdom work. Advocating a 'thicker Gospel,' we turn goodwill into good works about the good news. This Gospel transformation should move across all sectors of the city, including business and social sectors and much more. We partner with others who care, even if they don't share all, or perhaps any, of our spiritual goals and beliefs, because we are doing it for the common good and for the common grace. We leverage 'social capital,' and as externally focused churches, we can turn the strength of our bonded capital into bridging capital, changing our scorecard to match God's standards for measurement and God's heart for our communities.

    Finally, Swanson and Williams challenge leaders to rethink the future and to realize that what we can't move forward by continuing to do the same things that haven't worked. We must become transformed ourselves, and must yield ourselves to God's Kingdom work, His plan and His desire for our world to be transformed. Warning: don't read this if you are not prepared to be challenged deeply.
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