“And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

   because he has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

     and recovering of sight to the blind,

    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:16–21

The Kingdom Is in the Margins

As Christians, we care about the city because God loves the city. From Luke 4, we see Jesus intentionally reading from Isaiah 61 to launch his ministry. In this, his inaugural address, Christ centers his mission on reaching the destitute and devalued in society.

When John 4 tells us he “had to go through Samaria,” (emphasis mine) we come to realize that, though reaching people on the margins is not usually comfortable and may at times be difficult, nevertheless, we have to go where broken and hurting people are if we are to reach them at all. The density and diversity of the urbanized US inner city are what some have called “America’s Samaria.”

There is a sense in which Christ’s inaugural address in Luke 4, as it prioritizes the marginalized poor, prisoners, and the oppressed, calls the church to specialize in urban ministry. The gospel we preach is God’s gift to the poorest of the poor who, to a large degree, now abound in the inner cities of the world. Our commission is to reach them with the gospel. We not only declare what he preached but also demonstrate what he practiced in deeds of love and compassion. Click To Tweet

In this task, Jesus is our only message and our best model. We not only declare what he preached but also demonstrate what he practiced in deeds of love and compassion. For the urban missionary and church leader, that includes justice issues of health, housing, reconciliation, and many other areas that affect God’s people at the urban core of America. 

Answering the Call

Acts 29 Urban (launched in 2021) is committed to equipping our pastors and churches with training and resources that deal with the complex issues of the inner city and are contextual to the urban context.

Last October, the Acts 29 Urban team hosted a resource recording event designed to curate content that will aid our churches in reaching the increasing populations of our cities. The gathering was hosted at Grimké Seminary, which houses The School of Urban Ministry. Here, experienced urban practitioners equip men to take the gospel into urban contexts. During the two-day event, there were 18 workshops (“TED talks”), four panel discussions, and many podcasts recorded to be released throughout 2022. Topics included:

  • Discipleship
  • Preaching
  • Family health
  • The church’s digital presence
  • Understanding biblical diversity
  • Engaging the new Latino frontier
  • Replanting and revitalizing churches
  • Worship style(s)
  • Equipping for pastors’ wives
  • Fundraising and the changing face of church economics

Following the event, Dave Bruskas, Acts 29’s vice president for US regions, commented that this was “some of the best content delivered in Acts 29 for our network as a whole.” It is our hope that the content, coaching, and contributions of our team will bless planters and churches, inside and outside the urban context, for generations to come. Click To Tweet

Acts 29 Urban provides church-planting support to urban planters through theological education, contextualized content and coaching, and financial support. We offer online coaching calls, in-person conferences, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and preaching content to serve and strengthen urban pastors. It is our hope that the content, coaching, and contributions of our team will bless planters and churches, inside and outside the urban context, for generations to come.

Steve Ross
Written by: Steve Ross on February 8, 2022
Steve Ross is Acts 29’s Unity and Diversity Content Strategist. Steve has been married to his lifelong best friend, Jamie, since they were 19. They’re blessed to raise three sons and five daughters together. He serves as the lead pastor at Arise, a gospel-centered, multiethnic church in Ventura, California, and Steve loves shepherding the church toward unity in diversity.
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