Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Church in Hard Places

Ministry anywhere is hard because all people, ministers included, are sinners. Yet ministry in lower-income, urban areas has its own problems, and the lack of gospel-centered churches in many of these areas would suggest that Christians believe ministry there is harder than in more economically advantaged places. Church in Hard Places by Mez McConnell and Mike McKinley addresses this reality and provides an argument for church planting in these “hard places.”

If you’re looking for a practical how-to guide for church planting in low-income neighborhoods, you should pass this one by. If you haven’t given it much thought or are just considering the subject, McConnel and McKinley have you covered.

Some years ago Mark Dever wrote a book called IX Marks of a Healthy Church. Since then he’s built a whole ministry around these nine marks geared towards promoting the health of churches around the globe. Church in Hard Places is part of that ministry, and anyone familiar with the nine marks will find them well-applied to the subject of ministry in places with high rates of poverty.

I found myself highlighting a lot of what Mez and Mike had to say, though I would have liked more practical application since I found myself wondering okay, so what do I do from here? I suppose it’s not fair to criticize the book, since it wasn’t the authors’ purpose to write a manual on church planting, and the size of the book tells you right off the bat that it’s going to be an overview.

I’m hopeful that believers will rally to support church planting amongst the urban poor. Sunday morning is too segregated along racial and economic lines, and I, for my part, am trying to build bridges between people of different backgrounds in my community. May this book and others like it help to tear down the walls that divide us and cause us to come together to carry the gospel to every nook and cranny of our communities.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of providing a review.