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No. 3 in the 2002 Academy of Parish Clergy Top Ten Books of the Year! Cities--the anvil of civilization, the center of power, the metaphor for society itself--have been with us for thousands of years. Here converge piety and trade, security and politics. Yet just two hundred years ago only 3 percent of the world's population lived in cities. Today half does. Despite this tremendous explosion of urban growth, the work of the church has generally lagged behind. The city presents serious challenges that cry out for answers: poverty, racism, human exploitation and government corruption. How can the church move ahead in the midst of these demands with the gospel of hope? Here, in one comprehensive volume, Harvie Conn and Manuel Ortiz, two noted scholars and proven practitioners of urban ministry, address the vital work of the church in the city. Their dual goal: to understand the city and God's work in it. Through four great waves of development, Conn and Ortiz trace the history of the city around the world. Then they tackle the critical issue of a biblical basis for urban mission. How does the Bible view the city? Are we closer to God in the country than the city? Does the Bible have an anti-urban bias? These questions are given a thorough analysis that unveils God's urban mandate as reflected in both Old and New Testaments. From this foundation the authors unpack the multifaceted nature of the city as place, as process, as center, as power, and as a place of change and stability. They move us beyond fragmented stereotypes to a new way of seeing that is holistic enough for a fully biblical ministry to develop. In addition, Conn and Ortiz lay out what the social sciences have to offer urban mission, including ethnographic and demographic studies. While showing how such studies have identified unreached cities and unreached groups within cities, they do not become captive to research but demonstrate how to keep kingdom priorities in view. Finally, Urban Ministry focuses on the essential element of leadership. While there are many books on the topic, little has been said about the particular issues and needs of urban leadership. Therefore, the authors give significant attention to developing and mentoring leaders while equipping the laity for ministry in the city. This is the essential text for bringing God's kingdom to the city through the people of God.