Every once in a while God presents us with an opportunity for an adventure. For one week in November, 1994 a group of us stepped outside of our daily boundaries to participate in a collective learning adventure. Our objective was to explore how urban knowledge can be shared not by talking about it in the traditional way but by using new tools to have an experience in learning. The participants had only a general idea of what we were about to do because it was so outlandish that they might not have come if we'd tried to explain. We asked for their trust as we led them through this process. What we did hasn't been done before as a whole, but different parts of it have been done in different places around the world. We believed it "could" be done - the group listed below proved it.
It's one thing to talk "about" a process and a set of tools; it's even more valuable to "experience" them in a training environment. However, to truly gain an understanding of the process we decided to "use" it to create a (by-) product - this book. Admittedly, writing a book, by computer (with more than a few self declared computer illiterates), in less than one week, without a fixed structure, on a subject as complex as urban ministry is off the current urban ministry map. But urban ministry is being creatively developed by these same participants who daily are pushing back the boundaries of what "can" be done in the cities and adding to the collective understanding of how to do urban ministry. We took advantage of their collective knowledge and experience to create this book. It is unique, but we offer it as a beginning not an end. We hope that it stimulates your thinking and dreaming. Where you can see areas that can be amplified and expanded we invite to write the book or article or create the seminar or resource that is needed to equip the colleagues that God has called to the cities.
No one was "the expert;" we were all experts. No one was "the leader;" we all participated and facilitated as co-leaders. This book is truly a collaborative gift of the following people:
Mr. Jon Abercrombie, Rev. Viju Abraham,Rev. Bernita Babb, Dr. Raymond Bakke, Rev. Graeme Clark, Mr. Robert Culver, Mr.Stephen deBeer, Rev. Joe Ehrmann, Dr. Leah Fitchue, Dr. Donald Fuller, Mr. Phillipe Joret, Rev. Henry Kontor, Mr. George Kovats, Dr. Robert Lupton, Dr. Michael Mata, Rev Caesar Molobatsi, Mr. Paul Miller, Mr. Craig Nauta, Rev. David Ngai, Dr. Bill O'Brien, Mr. Mackenzie Pier, Ms. Lisa Rivera, Dr. Luis Scott, Mr. Jan Gaute Sirevag, Mrs Jember Teferra, Mr. Stephen Ujvarosy
Ms. Lee Black, Mr. Brett Boston, Ms. Melanie Buckner, Mr. Scott David, Ms. Angle Deacons, Ms. Odile Ferroussie, Ms Cheryl Hendricks, Ms. Kyle Hollingsworth, Ms. Susan Keeter, Mr. Bill Petersen, Mr. Mike Shorter, Ms. Shelly Thomas, Ms. Helen Ujvarosy, Mr. Stephen Ujvarosy, Mr. Ralph Veerman, Mr. Henry Whitlow
This project was even a collaborative dream. Ralph Veerman first suggested that we meet The Atlanta Project team and see the Carter Collaboration Center they had built. Dan Sweat and Glenda Horton of the Atlanta project believed that this idea would work and graciously hosted a group they had never met to do something they had never seen done. Group Solutions president, Brett Boston, believed in the process and recruited the Group Solutions team to voluntarily invest much more than a week of their time in this project. The staff at IUA believed that the participants that God was bringing to Atlanta were the right people at the right time to do what had never been done before. Lisa Rivera put her heart and soul into making all the details work and assure that we were a community rather than a collection of people. The Atlanta Christian community opened their doors and hearts to us and warmly supported us in so many ways. None of us could have done it alone and the results are greater than any of us could have produced without the others.
The week was itself a metaphor of how effective urban ministry is done - in collaboration - in community - with shared ownership where not one of us gets the credit but all of us do and where God gets the glory.Please read this book as our collective gift to you in your journey in the city. It expresses what we have all learned individually and together and invites you to be a co-learner as we continue the journey.
International Urban Associates