At the 2012 Evangelical Missiological Society annual meeting in Chicago, Reaching the City: Reflections on Urban Mission for the Twenty-first Century was released. This monograph contains the published papers from last year's EMS meeting on urban mission and is available from William Carey Library. Here is a snap shot from the publisher:
Rapid urbanization and globalization processes worldwide have changed the landscape of our times. In Asia and Africa the number of urban dwellers increases by an average of one million per week, according to the United Nations. More than half of the globe’s seven billion human beings now live in cities. These realities have far reaching implications for mission in urban contexts at the start of the third millennium. Reaching the City: Reflections on Urban Mission for the Twenty-first Century seeks to address the missiological challenges associated with this new world order.
Each author in this collection respectfully builds upon the significant contributions of seminal writers such as Ray Bakke, Jacques Ellul, Basil of Caesarea and others, while making new and creative proposals for urban mission in our world today. Beginning with the bigger picture of the global challenges of urbanization, and moving through theological, historical, and educational perspectives, this volume concludes with a rich bevy of case studies engaging these new realities of both North American and international cities to encourage a missional thrust to reach these communities.
I had the privilege to write chapter 4, entitled "Basil of Caesarea: An Early Christian Model of Urban Mission." Here's a taste:
“The hungry are dying… . The naked are stiff with cold. The man in debt is held by the throat” (Basil, Sermon 6.6 in Holman 2001, 103). This is how Basil (AD 329–379) described his city, Caesarea of Cappadocia, in the late fourth century, especially amid a lingering famine that plagued his region. As the twenty-first-century church ministering in the world’s cities continues to deal with problems such as hunger, usury, corruption, unemployment, displaced peoples, and even slavery, it seems useful to consider some models of urban mission from the church’s past. In this article, I will explore the approach to urban ministry by the well-known church father and bishop Basil who is remembered mostly for his contributions to
fourth-century Trinitarian theology. Following a brief survey of his life and call to ministry and the context in which he ministered, I will discuss his practical strategies and theology of mission regarding ministry in the city. In conclusion, I will begin a reflective conversation between Basil and modern practitioners on ministering in urban contexts.
Past volumes in the EMS series can be accessed HERE.