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Urban Shalom and the People of God

This unit focuses on the nature of cities and competing visions for their projected futures. Biblical and theological understandings will be explored and used as lenses through which the city’s future can be envisaged. In particular, a biblical understanding of God’s ‘Shalom’ as this relates to people, society and broader creation will be described and used as a critical tool to discern factors that prevent Shalom from becoming a reality in urban neighbourhoods.

Students will consider the theology and spirituality of ‘local urban places’ and explore strategies through which positive and hopeful change can be effected. Students will be encouraged to consider and envisage how God’s peace and reconciliation can be realised in the midst of urban conflict and suffering, unjust powers and vested interests.

Lecturer: Refer to Timetable
Offered: Refer to Timetable

Undergraduate: Level 1 & 2
Postgraduate: Level 8

Discipline: DM Missiology 

Level 1: N/A
Level 2: 1 x Level 1 unit in Field D
Level 8: N/A

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of competing visions for the nature and character of ‘city’.
  2. Articulate biblical and theological underpinnings for God’s Shalom and hope for cities.
  3. Analyse contemporary theories of urban powers and principalities in cities and develop ways for models of ministries of justice and reconciliation to emerge.
  4. Describe how Christians are reinterpreting ‘local place sharing’ as part of contemporary Christian discipleship and mission.
  5. (second level) Demonstrate a theological and practice-oriented understanding of the unique role that Christian mission can play in the transformation of local places in cities.
  6. (postgraduate) Critically analyse a particular context of urban life in the light of God’s Shalom.


Undergraduate: Level 1
1,500 word tutorial paper 40%
2,500 word case study 60%

Undergraduate: Level 2
2,000 word tutorial paper 40%
2,500 word case study 60%

Postgraduate: Level 8
1,500 word Tutorial Paper 25%
1,500 reading report 25%
3,000 word case study 50%

Select Bibliography:

Pre-Unit Reading:

Wright, NT. Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. New York: HarperOne, 2008.


Barker, Ash. Make Poverty Personal: Taking the poor as seriously as the Bible does. Grand Rapids, Baker, 2009.

Bernard, Daniel. City Impact: How to Unify, Empower and Mobilize God’s People to Transform Their Communities. Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 2004.

Conn, H. and M. Ortiz. Urban Ministry: The kingdom, the city and the people of God. Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity, 2001.

Cray, Graham. Disciples & Citizens: A Vision for Distinctive Living. Notingham: IVP, 2007.

Gornick, Mark R. To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

Green, Laurie. Urban Ministry and the Kingdom of God. London: SPCK, 2003.

Hauerwas, Stanley, and Jean Vanier. Living Gently in a Violent World: The Prophetic Witness of Weakness. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008.

Inge, John. A Christian Theology of Place: Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.

Keller, Timothy. Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012.

Lederach, John P. Reconcile: Conflict Transformation for Ordinary Christians. Harrisonburg: Herald Press, 2014.

Lupton, Robert D. Renewing the City: Reflections on Community Development and Urban Renewal. Downers Grove: IVP, 2005.

McKnight, Scot. A Fellowship of Differents: Showing the World God’s Design for Life Together. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.

Sider, Ronald, J. Completely Pro-Life: Building a Consistent Stance on Abortion, The Family, Nuclear Weapons & the Poor. Downers Grove: IVP, 1987.

—— Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2005.

Wright, Christopher J. H. Old Testament Ethics for the People of God. Leicester: InterVarsity, 2004.

Um, Stephen T & Justin Buzzard. Why Cities Matter: To God, the Culture, and the Church. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.