While urban pastors devote time and energy to all the typical demands of ministry, they also grapple with challenges endemic to city life. Achieving a measure of balance amid these competing demands and responsibilities can be daunting. Using his experiences as a pastor in urban settings for nearly three decades, Roger J. Gench offers pastors a close look at the challenges that come from being involved in urban ministry.
Throughout, he integrates memoir, sermons, and essays on social ministry, and reflections on the theology and spirituality of parish life. In each chapter, Gench offers his own stories and reflections and then invites readers to consider the relevance for their own ministry. Urban pastors will not only find themselves relating to Gench's experiences but will also uncover practical help for their ministry.
"It takes a special person with an understanding of God�s specialized call to the marginalized and disenfranchised in cities to invest a life and career in urban ministry. Roger Gench is that special person, working with people from all walks of life to organize for justice and community change—someone with the courage, faith and strength to cross lines of difference boldly, and to seek holistic salvation for all people. This book offers a great glimpse at the work of urban ministry, and the man who has given his heart and soul to it. It is a must read for those called to the urban mission field."
—Joseph W. Daniels Jr., Lead Pastor, Emory United Methodist Church, and District Superintendent, Greater Washington District, Baltimore-Washington Conference, The United Methodist Church
"Roger Gench has worked in the trenches of urban ministry for several decades. In these pages he reveals lessons he has learned while working alongside others committed to making this world a better place for all."
—Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
"With a good dose of wisdom, experience, and humility, Roger Gench weaves together a powerful text on pastoral leadership, theology, and the disciplines of community organizing. Gench writes with refreshing honesty about 'doing theology from the trenches of urban ministry,' but his insights into the 'cruciform covenant' extend far beyond the urban context. Through sermons, practical applications, and thought-provoking discussion questions, Gench provides a guidebook for leaders to help their own communities stand in covenant relationship with God and others 'at the intersection where God is bringing justice, reconciliation, and life out of the crucifixions that litter our landscapes.' Tackling topics such as race, poverty, food deserts, and living wages alongside the Apostles' Creed and the Great Commandment, this book is a must-read for those leaders who desire to deepen a congregation's theological self-understanding and transform the congregation�s service and witness in the community."
—Jessica Tate, Director, NEXT Church