part 3: urban ministry focus
The importance of a biblical basis for urban ministry rises from the purpose of any kind of ministry–the glory of God. God’s glory is the primary motivation and goal of everything the believer does, which necessitates an understanding of who God is and what He desires in order to know what will bring Him glory.
The only way for Christians to learn about God is by studying His self-revelation, the Bible. Therefore, urban ministry must be grounded in the Word of God if it is to accomplish its goal of glorifying God. Thus, the Bible provides the proper end for urban ministry and must be used as the basis for urban ministry.
The Bible not only provides the proper end but also the proper means for urban ministry. Urban ministry falls under the mission that Jesus Christ gave to the church before He ascended to heaven: to glorify God by making and maturing disciples who are becoming like their Lord, Jesus Christ (Mt 28:18-20).
This discipleship making process includes baptizing these new converts, thereby incorporating them into the local church. Therefore, local churches and church planting must be at the core of any urban ministry strategy.
The Bible also provides vital theological truth that shapes a person’s understanding of humanity and cities. God’s Word reveals that all people are fallen and hopeless apart from Christ, that Jesus died to save people from God’s wrath and unite them to Himself by grace through faith, and that one day He will return to establish His kingdom on earth. This foundation shows that the greatest enemy is sin, the greatest need is salvation, and the greatest hope is Jesus Christ.
Without this biblical basis, urban ministry can too easily be transformed into mere programs intended to meet the overwhelming needs of the people without any regard for the glory of God. Urban ministers can become discouraged if they misunderstand the nature of sin and, therefore, believe that they can create a utopia on earth. Finally, urban ministries can lack spiritual power, because the Holy Spirit empowers biblical ministry intended for the glory of God. Therefore, a biblical basis for urban ministry is vital.
- Ben Edwards, our resident urban guy