#1. Sowing Seeds of Shalom in the Neighbourhood

by Geoff & Sherry Maddock

Geoff and Sherry Maddock are urban missionaries and micro-farmers in Lexington, Kentucky who are passionate about neighbourhood transformation. They encourage Christians to embrace mission wherever they are “placed” locally not just in global generalisations; as neighbours not just church members; and taking an interest in justice and ecology not just individuals and their salvation. Readers love their encouragement to walk, plant, bake and shop locally as expressions of neighbourliness. “Sowing Seeds of Shalom in the Neighbourhood” is the first briefing paper form the first Summit of the International Society for Urban Mission (ISUM) and offers theological frameworks, principles, disciplines and practical suggestions for the urban dweller who wants to be involved in the work and joys of neighbourhood transformation.

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#2. Recruit, Equip and Sustain

by Lynette Leach, Scott Bessenecker and Andrew Menzies

The last decade has seen a significant response in the number of practitioners involved in urban mission around the world. Today the need is urgent for the broader church to take collective action to motivate and mobilise a strong contingent of Christian leaders who will commit to living incarnationally in poor urban communities. This is already happening which is a sign of hope for neighbourhoods to be transformed with the good news of kingdom justice and mercy. To respond to the challenges brought about by the massive rise of urbanisation in the world, recruiting people to follow Jesus into tough urban contexts cannot be ignored. Once recruited, they need to undergo appropriate preparation and equipping. To be sustained in their vocation and call to faithful discipleship and ministry for the long journey requires supportive networks.

“Recruit, Equip and Sustain Christian Leaders in a New Urban World” is the second briefing paper from the first Summit of the International Society of Urban Mission (ISUM) in January 2013. Written by Lynette Leach, Pastor for Urban Neighbours of Hope; Scott Bessenecker, Associate Director for Missions for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship; and Andrew Menzies Principal of Stirling Theological College (MCD University of Divinity), it discusses the huge needs and opportunities for recruiting people for tough urban contexts, equipping them for ministry with accessible training, and sustaining them with intentional support networks and spiritual practices. Among other things, urban missionaries need to be resilient, especially through inevitable disappointments and potential crises of faith. Young people from the affluent West and leaders from the Majority world are taking an interest in urban mission, but better recruitment, mentoring and support are vitally important for kingdom transformation to be accomplished in an increasingly urbanised world.

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#3. Release the Oppressed and Others Suffering from Injustice

by Cori Wittman and Aimee Brammer

The call to fight injustice and release the oppressed rings loud and clear from the pages of Scripture to secular newsstands, but the practical realities of doing so in modern society can be complex and overwhelming. Christian and secular populations alike are wrestling with the best approaches to right modern injustices leading to enslaved child soldiers, war-torn refugees, exploited migrant workers, victims of human trafficking or other egregious realities in today’s world. While the world grasps for solutions to these complex, interconnected challenges, the Bible gives clear guidelines on how to fight for justice and release the oppressed globally and in our own neighborhoods. As Christ-followers, we are called to a deeper understanding of the Biblical mandate to release the oppressed by “doing justice,” and to use that framework to then evaluate and engage in situations of injustice. This paper highlights the issue of human trafficking as an example of a modern social issue that the Church is both called and equipped to engage, through collaborative, humble responses driven by an understanding of the character of God to bring God’s justice to the earth.

“Release the Oppressed and Others Suffering from Injustice” is the third briefing paper from the first Summit of the International Society of Urban Mission (ISUM) in January 2013. Written by Cori Wittman, an agriculturalist who works alongside Breakthrough Thailand to stem the tides of migration to Thailand’s sex industry, and Aimee Brammer who works with Chab Dai Coalition that facilitates collaboration between anti-trafficking stakeholders in Cambodia, it does not avoid the challenges and dilemmas of working for liberation. They examine the complex and multifarious world of human trafficking, explore the biblical inspiration to set such people free, explain where interventions are needed (not just raids and rescues but viable restoration), and offer case studies of structural breakthroughs and a wealth of practical implications.

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EPublished Briefing Paper $2.99

Keywords: Social justice, oppression, human trafficking, modern-day slavery, Asia, neighbourhood transformation, urban mission

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#4. Empowering Children and Young People: Imagining a Better Future in the Global City

by Amy Brock-Devine, Elizabeth Barnett, Kimberly Quinley and Matthew Wilson

Children and young people constitute a considerable proportion of urban slum communities. They occupy an ambiguous place in the missional imagination of many, and are the focus of much benevolent, commercial and dark intention from within their own countries of origin, neighboring nations and from remote western sources. Marginalized, exploited and often bearing an invisible burden, they are also equivocally highly profiled in images and popular narratives. The process of the ISUM Children and Young People stream sought to see, describe, imagine, listen and dialogue with children in the ways of shalom in the urban slum contexts that are their home.
“Empowering Children and Young People: Imagining a Better Future in the Global City”, is the fourth briefing paper from the first Summit of the International Society of Urban Mission (ISUM) in January 2013. Amy Brock-Devine, Beth Barnett, Kimberly Quinley and Matthew Wilson urge us to recognize the vulnerability of children in cities. Through a practice of “reverse-dreaming”, their working group imagined a city without exploitation of children and then discussed what the church would need to do to help the city get to that positive future. This paper is honest about the challenges but also optimistic about protecting and healing children and young people.

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#5 JOINING GOD IN THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF MULTI-FAITH CITIES

by John Baxter-Brown, Sharmilah Blair and Rosalee Velloso Ewell

“Joining God in the Challenges and Opportunities of Multi-Faith Cities”
is the ffifth briefing paper from the first Summit of the International Society of Urban Mission (ISUM) in January 2013. John Baxter-Brown, Sharmila Blair and Rosalee Velloso Ewell explore the dynamics of living and dialoguing with people from diverse religious backgrounds and implications for witness and collaboration. The writers reflect on their visits to a Buddhist temple, Bangkok Breast Cancer Support Group and Bangkok Refugee Centre, and discuss the document Christian Witness in a Multi-religious World. They underline how important it is for Christians to deepen their understanding of their own faith, to broaden their understanding of what others believe, and to engage in evangelism with boldness and respect.

Available: Free PDF Download here