For the City: New from Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter

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Had a chance on a recent round-trip flight to pour through the newest book in Zondervan’s Exponential series.  For the City: Proclaiming and Living Out the Gospel by Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter (with Josh A. Lindsey) is a great addition to the series.  Written in a very personal and informal style, this is the story of two churches you ought to be following if you’re interested in city transformation.

At a slim 180 pages, it’s not a lengthy read.  The conversational style almost gives you the sense that you’re listening in to Darrin and Matt as they tell the story behind the missional preoccupations of The Journey (St. Louis, MO) and The Austin Stone Community Church (Austin, TX).

With individual chapters alternating between the recollections of the two founding pastors, Part One of For the City provides an insider’s look at the early days, but does it in a way that is packed with transferable principles and thought-provoking insights.

Part Two is focused on ideas that you’ll find both challenging and helpful:

  • Contextualization (adapting communication of the gospel without changing the gospel’s essential character)
  • Developing authentic community, learning to experience Christ through one another
  • Serving the city, bringing the vision down from the soaring 30,000-foot heights to ground level implementation
  • Equipping and positioning for mission through missional communities
  • Suffering as a definite ingredient; not “if” but “when”

For the City is an easy read packed with an extremely challenging message.  Can we plant churches that are truly for the city.  Yes.  Will there be pain?  Certainly.  Will there be great joy?  Absolutely.

Matt Carter wrote, “If Austin Stone Community Church or The Journey shut our doors tomorrow, would our cities even know we were gone?  Would the leaders celebrate, feeling as if they had gotten rid of a nuisance?  Or would the city grieve and mourn our disappearance?”

Most of us long to be part of churches that would be missed.  Here is the story of two churches that have set their course and are moving in that direction.

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