Articles on the Urban Church and its Ministries
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by Rev. Dr. Gregg Detwiler
As an urban Christian worker, you want to bear fruit, but you also want to avoid burnout! In this article, Rev. Dr. Gregg Detwiler outlines some of the characteristics and abilities which an urban ministry worker can build on with an attitude of love and a willingness to learn. These aspects of a minister’s life, according to Dr. Detwiler, are key areas which need to be continually nurtured and renewed to maintain both an effective ministry and a balanced personal life.
2) Music Ministry in the Black Church
by Emmett G. Price, III, Ph.D.
Due to a failure to mentor and train future generations within the Black church, the lack of adequate musical training for our youth and young adults, the rapid influence of commercial and pre-packaged music within our churches and the underestimation of the power of music as an effective tool for ministry, Black churches are struggling to find music ministry leaders who are not only excellent musicians, composers and directors but are equally accomplished spiritual leaders. Black churches need to play a key role in preserving the rich musical and cultural heritage and legacy of our past generations. Black churches could do more to provide adequate training for music ministry leaders in the areas of administration, spiritual leadership, conflict resolution, people management and other non-performance related skills necessary to nurture, develop and lead an effective music ministry.
Black Church Music Ministry Project
by Emmett G. Price, III, Ph.D.
Emmett G. Price III, Ph.D., president and founder of BCMMP (Black Church Music Ministry Project), shares where the Black Church Music Ministry Project has been since the ministry’s conception. Three years ago, while taking a class at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME), Emmett caught a vision for a ministry that would develop spiritual leaders within music ministry. Since then, the BCMMP has been serving the church in Boston and beyond with practical, spiritual, quality, training and resources for leaders. Their vision is to see music ministry leaders fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20) through the ministry of music in local churches.
By Rev. Hurmon E. Hamilton, Jr.
This section includes content and resources shared on November 13, 2010 at the Boston Preservation Alliance workshop on the preservation and maintenance of religious buildings hosted at Roxbury Presbyterian Church. It features a transcription and audio file of the encouraging presentation made by Rev. Hurmon Hamilton, Senior Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, who shared the inspiring story and practical lessons learned by his own congregation. We’ve also included a brief resource section, agenda, speaker biographies, and acknowledgements prepared by the Boston Preservation Alliance.
by Dr. Douglas Hall
In a contemporary society lacking relational culture, churches are becoming dysfunctional at an alarming rate. Our society’s mental models teach us how to get things done without relationships. Earlier cultures enabled us to operate in a more relational manner, but in our day, while churches work hard to help people relate to God, many have forgotten how to help them relate to each other.Also included is the article, Fifteen Characteristics of Dysfunctional Churches, by Thomas F. Fischer, and a response by Douglas Hall.
by Bradford M. Smith
As the Christian counseling movement of the 1960s and holistic mission thinking converge, there is an opportunity to study and develop a fresh expression, deeper understanding, and expanding practice of care and counsel as integral to a transformational, “whole gospel” perspective. This consideration of care and counsel makes greater use of indigenous Christian theological reflection and captures a “breadth of multidisciplinary practitioners beyond traditional counseling to include: church and community-based ministries, emergency response to traumatic events, and educational outreach programs focused on marriage and family life.” In this article, Boston-area psychologist Dr. Bradford M. Smith writes about “the broader role that Christian counseling and psychology is having around the world in serving the poor and underserved in Jesus’ name,” as well as how Christian caregivers from around the world in the fields of counseling, pastoral ministry, psychology, psychiatry, social work, and theology are joining together to consider the possibilities of “Care and Counsel as Mission.”
by Dr. Thomas Idiculla, Brian Corcoran, and Rev. Bruce Peterson
The Assessment of Christian Counseling Needs in Metro Boston: A Preliminary Report shares the results of a recent survey conducted in the Metro Boston area during November of 2009 regarding Christian counseling. The survey allows us to hear from local church leaders about their perceived needs regarding Christian counseling in the Boston area. This investigation provides preliminary findings to assist churches, ministries, and counseling agencies in strategically addressing counseling needs. When do church leaders refer counseling to others? What are the most common counseling issues in Boston? What role should the church have in the counseling process? What are the barriers in obtaining Christian counseling? How might churches and counseling ministries collaborate to address counseling needs? As a preliminary survey and report, this is an initial investigation that begins to address a much larger realm of questions on the topic that could and should be expanded and refined in the future.
This section groups three articles on the “House Church” or “Simple Church” movement including “Progressive Revelation in Mission,” Wolf’s reflection on the history of the western church since 1945;
“15 Theses,” from Houses that Change the World; and “Spider and Starfish,” an article suggesting a new organizational approach for the church.
by Rudy Mitchell
Senior Researcher Rudy Mitchell offers an historical review of revivalism in Boston. From the First Great Awakening in 1740, one hundred years after Boston's founding, to the Billy Graham Revival of 1950, we take a look back to see what has happened in our city in the past in order to sharpen our vision and faith for what can happen in the future. This overview of urban church evangelism and church planting gives a long-term historical perspective on church ministry in an American city.
Articles on Systems Thinking and the Church
by Rev. Paul Bothwell
In this article, Rev. Paul Bothwell, a veteran church planter, pastor, educator and missionary, provides a down-to-earth example of how systems thinking can speak to the daily crises all of us face in church life. Have you ever felt overwhelmed, angry, or discouraged because it seems you must always come to the rescue because others drop the ball? If so, this article will encourage you. It may even give you a hunger to learn more. Systems Thinking—what is it? And what’s it good for? Here’s a brief look at one painful story of life in ministry, and how a basic systems thinking tool might help you understand the problem, diagnose the issues, figure out what you could do about it, and change the recurring cycle that’s killing you!
by Dr. Douglas Hall
In this article, Douglas A. Hall, President of Emmanuel Gospel Center, shares an article, “Crossing the Perception Threshold,” on the social-spiritual complexity of urban ministry, which is also related to his recent book, The Cat & the Toaster: Living System Ministry in a Technological Age. In the same way that our senses are limited by design, we are also limited to a narrow spectrum of understanding, when it comes to perceiving things that are complex. Because God’s order is far more complex than we have the ability to understand, God’s order sometimes appears chaotic to us. If we then try to work in God's world with limited perception, we will be ineffective. Thankfully, God has a plan to help us see things the way he does.
by Dr. Douglas Hall
In this article, we offer a brief introduction to the themes covered throughout the six parts of The Cat & the Toaster: Living System Ministry in a Technological Age, a new book by Doug Hall, president of Emmanuel Gospel Center. We've also included links to the book’s website, where you can learn more about the concepts in the book and order the book. A selected bibliography from Dr. Hall’s book is also included.