A New Day in the City

Urban Church Revival

Book - Paperback
A New Day in the City
Paperback ISBN: 9781501818882
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E-Book ISBN: 9781501818899
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Published May 2017

Renewal of the city church means discovering how the Spirit wants to renew this particular congregation.

Many urban congregations remember days of fame and fortune—days when their prominence downtown or in city neighborhoods mattered. Population shifts, the decline of congregations and neighborhoods, and demographic changes depleted the dreams of many urban churches. But not all churches gave up hope. Many congregations are struggling to survive, but thousands of urban churches are thriving again. Churches with revived hope learn to let go of nostalgic dreams and tired habits and to walk with God into a new day of vibrant mission and ministry.

Donna Claycomb Sokol and Roger Owens share lessons they’ve learned on the job and from other urban pastors. Along the way, they challenge clichés about church leadership and strategic planning by showing what congregational renewal can look like and how it can become a reality. Each chapter features a set of practical guidelines for leading a congregation to address the questions that matter most.

“The urban church can be quite a challenge. I know because I’ve served a couple. Now, two thoughtful pastors with actual urban church experience take an affectionate, positive, honest, and hopeful look at the urban church and give practical wisdom for the revival of languishing urban congregations. There’s a remarkable revival of the urban church in North America. Donna and Roger can help you be part of it!” —William H. Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC; retired bishop, The United Methodist Church

“Three things excite me most about this book: First, these two young pastors understand the strategic importance of urban ministry and are passionately committed to it. Second, they show that when you turn from tired ‘church growth’ and corporate paradigms, choosing rather to model your ministry on Jesus, new life happens. And third, they explain that transformation is about journeying faithfully with the questions rather than looking for quick-fix techniques. This book could change your ministry.” —Peter Storey, South African church leader; W. Ruth and A. Morris Williams Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC


About the Authors

Donna Claycomb Sokol

Donna Claycomb Sokol has served as the pastor of Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church in downtown Washington DC since 2005 where she led the congregation through a multi-million dollar property redevelopment and helped the congregation transform from 50 people with an average age of 82 to a growing, diverse congregation that includes an abundance of young adults. She earned the MDiv from Duke Divinity School, DMin from Wesley Theological Seminary, and an Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. She is a former White House intern and has also served on the staffs of U.S. Congressman Eric Fingerhut, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, and as the Director of Admissions at Duke Divinity School.

L. Roger Owens

Since 2013 L. Roger Owens (PhD, Duke University) has been associate professor of leadership and ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, Roger spent eight years as a pastor in North Carolina serving churches with his wife, Rev. Ginger Thomas, before moving to Pittsburgh. Now as a professor, writer, and retreat leader he offers students and other audiences a new, refreshing way to think about ministry.
Roger is the author of three books, the editor of two others, and he has written numerous articles. He is a frequent faculty presenter in the Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation, teaching broadly in Christian spirituality. He also leads workshops on spiritual leadership.