The House We Built Together

To help the twenty-five urban experts access these inner dimensions of urban ministry, Urban Strategy Institute planners set up a metaphor/art (visioning) room across from the high tech group writing room. Drawing people together in a stimulating, creative environment, the USI planners also hoped to offset any side effects of the high technology setup across the hall. In the metaphor/art room technology took a different form: four-by-eight-foot foam core panels, colored markers, and two incredibly talented graphic artists. (There were computer terminals in the room, but only for writers to capture the comments of the international teams as they worked on the panels.)

The two artists were in charge of sketching out the Associates' vision of a large urban ministry, using a house and its various rooms as a metaphor for a large urban ministry with its many different ministry functions and leadership requirements.

One of the reasons for choosing the metaphor of a house was to provide the international teams with a transferable concept that was applicable and adaptable to any cultural location. In this way the teams could agree on symbols which communicated a common understanding of urban ministry, but which also allowed for personal interpretation. In describing for the artists the furnishings each particular room contained, the ministry experts were led to approach the questions of what it takes to be effective in urban ministry from a right-brain (conceptual) perspective rather than from the left brain (analytical) perspective they used in their writing. This cognitive shift brought a new level of insight about their work which they could then incorporate into their writing when they returned to the high-tech room.

Each room (actually, three four-by-eight-foot panels) had three common elements: a window, to represent connection to the secular world; a skylight to represent relationship to God; and a mirror, to stand for the ministry's (or leader's) sense of self, purpose or identity. Depending on the room (kitchen/dining room, study, bedrooms, etc.) the teams chose different furnishings for the artists to draw, defining in the written descriptions the unique significance of each element. The room illustrations, with panel-by-panel descriptions, are shown below. each room can be viewed either as a room with multiple images and narrative or as panel by panel. Although the house itself, like the Kingdom of God, is not finally complete, all thirteen rooms and their furnishings taken together, give a more or less complete picture of what it looks like and feels like to be involved in urban ministry.

Front Cover for Book..(102K .jpg)

The Images with text:

Front Porch (52K)

Living Room (89K)

Kitchen/Dining Room (128K)

Library (190K)

Adult bedroom (137K)

Child bedroom (148K)

Senior bedroom (125K)

The images (without commentary):

Front Cover for Book..(102K .jpg)

Front Porch..(50K .jpg)

Living Room..(42K .jpg)

Living Room..(43K .jpg)

Kitchen..(45K .jpg)

Kitchen..(47K .jpg)

Kitchen..(34K .jpg)

Library..(53K .jpg)

Library..(75K .jpg)

Library..(36K .jpg)

Adult Bedroom..(49K .jpg)

Adult Bedroom..(50K .jpg)

Adult Bedroom..(35K .jpg)

Childs Bedroom..(49K .jpg)

Childs Bedroom..(55K .jpg)

Childs Bedroom..(39K .jpg)

Seniors Bedroom..(48K .jpg)

Seniors Bedroom..(39K .jpg)

Seniors Bedroom..(34K .jpg)

Seniors Bedroom..(39K .jpg)