Boyce on Missionary Theological Education

From his inaugural at Furman University, 31 July 1856:

"The results of past missionary efforts, appear to indicate that we, like the apostles, must adopt the system of home laborers, if we would evangelize the world. We must get natives to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation. The men whom we send forth to missionary stations must then be qualified to instruct the native preachers in all the elements of theological education. They will not only have to put the Bible into their hands as a textbook, but they will have to prepare, in the native language, or translate into it such books of theology, as shall give them adequate instruction."
-- James Petigru Boyce, first President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Crossover Louisville 2009

I just heard my first news about Crossover Louisville 2009. Check out for more information on an opportunity to touch our city.


The Changing Face of the City

In North America, when you talk about "urban ministry," everyone often thinks of work among the homeless, the urban poor, or in justice ministries. All it takes is one look at our bibliography here at the Center for Urban Ministry Training to see the weight given those ministries. Just this week, however, numerous articles and blog posts have come across my desk(top) describing a significant trend in urban demographics. In July, The Wall Street Journal published a story detailing the end of "white flight" from cities and the growing conflict between urban minority populations and returning whites. This week, Andy Crouch pointed blog readers to a New Republic story titled, "Trading Places." Alan Ehrenhalt describes a "demographic inversion" taking place where immigrants and minorites are moving to the suburbs while affluent suburbanites move to the inner city. Finally, an insert in the Louisville Courier-Journal recently declared that demographic shifts and growing diversity in the suburbs requires "new thinking" on the part of city leadership and citizens.

There is not doubt that the face of the city is changing. Downtown renewal, high gas prices, and a growing fascination with city life is drawing people back to urban centers. So, what does this mean for ministry? Will suburban church planting twenty years from now look like inner-city ministry today? How does the move toward "vertical" living in the rapidly sprouting high rise condos of mid-size cities affect our methods of church planting and evangelism?

That's the direction this blog is beginning to take. My own school is asking those questions as are many others. A presentation at the recent gathering of the National Association of Multi-Housing Ministries and Congregations included a session on affluent condominium dwellers. An initiative in Atlanta is seeking partners and trying to answer the questions raised by this demographic shift -- a shift that is small now but could grow rapidly.

Stay tuned...


Speaking of connecting...

Speaking of making connections, Joe Thorn has a great post on "bridging." One of the big questions for those of us who work and live in cultures where evangelism requires relationship is how to turn a conversation to the gospel. Too often, we build the trust of a relationship but never really share why we are who we are.

Thorn's post begins to answer that question.

Searching for a village

On the way to work this morning, I heard an NPR interview with Dick Meyer about his new book, Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millenium. I'm not sure what the entire book is about, but the interview focused on the American loss of community and relationships. While not necessarily longing for "the good ole days," Meyer recalls that before the social revolution of the 1960s and the technological revolution that followed, Americans tended to stay in one place and know people. That is no longer the case -- my own life is evidence. Meyer mourns the loss of relationships, of accountability, of community.

Give the interview a listen. I don't know what his answers are, but the only answer I know of to the problem of a loss of rootedness, family, and connection is a church that is the church.