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Transforming Urban Neighbourhoods

Foundational unit for postgraduates

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This intensive aims to equip participants with practical insights, frameworks, tools and strategies to effect transformation in local neighbourhoods facing urban poverty. This includes: a theological and pastoral critique of  the contribution of Christian faith; an exploration of the ways that Christians can relate to, and come alongside, marginalised people thus bringing residents together to solve their own problems; a critical evaluation of the roles local churches can play in neighbourhood-based responses.
Personal worker issues that can undermine transformations such as boundaries, self-care, dependencies and projections are considered. Christian approaches to urban community development; empowerment and relief will be identified and explored.

Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

1. Identify a number of contemporary approaches to understanding and defining the nature of poverty.
2. Describe a variety of models, frameworks and concepts that can inform and inspire a community transformation process in an urban neighbourhood.
3. Develop a theological rationale for the ways Christians live in, and engage with neighbourhoods.
4. Communicate theological concepts in a clear and articulate form, accessible to people living in poverty.
5.  (Level 2) Demonstrate distinct ways Christians can engage with urban neighbourhoods.
6. (postgraduate) Critique and theologically evaluate Christian professional practice in community-based mission.

Pre-requisite: for level one – nil: for level 2 – one foundational unit in field D: for postgraduate – nil

Faculty: Michael Duncan

Offered: in 2017 as an intensive in July at Stirling.


First level undergraduate
One 500 word oral tutorial presentation 20%
One 1,000 word topical paper 30%
One 2,500 word Thematic Essay 50%

Second level undergraduate
One 500 word oral tutorial presentation 10%
One 2,000 word topical paper 40%
One 2,500 word thematic essay 50%

One 500 word oral tutorial presentation 10%
One 2,500 word Tutorial Paper  40%
One 3,000 word Thematic Essay 50%


Barker, Ash. Surrender All: A Call to Sub-Merge with Christ. Melbourne: UNOH, 2005.
Duncan, Michael. Costly Mission: Following Jesus into Neighbourhoods Facing Poverty. Melbourne: UNOH, 2007.


Bosch, David. Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission. Maryknoll: Orbis, 2011.
Bradshaw, Bruce. Change across Cultures: A Narrative Approach to Social Transformation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002.
Christian, Jayakumar. God of the Empty-Handed: Poverty, Power and the Kingdom of God. Monrovia: MARC, 1999.
Corbett, Steve, and Brian Fikkert. When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself. Chicago: Moody, 2009.
Guder, Darrell. Be My Witnesses. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985.
Hunter, George, III. To Spread the Power: Church Growth in the Wesleyan Spirit. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1987.
Linthicum, Robert. Building a People of Power: Equipping Churches to Transform Their Communities. Waynesboro: Authentic, 2005.
McKnight, John, and Peter Brock. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighbourhoods. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2010.
Myers, Bryant. Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. Maryknoll: Orbis, 1999.
Newbigin, Lesslie. Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt and Certainty in Christian Discipleship. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995.
Perkins, John. With Justice for All: A Strategy for Community Development. Ventura: Regal Books, 2007.
Pohl, Christine. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.
Samuel, Vinay, and Chris Sugden, eds. Mission as Transformation: A Theology of the Whole Gospel. Oxford: Regnum, 1999.
Schaller, Lyle E. The Change Agent. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1972.