Encounter God in the City: Onramps to Personal and Community Transformation, By Randy White

Encounter God in the City

Onramps to Personal and Community Transformation

by Randy White
Foreword by Raymond J. Bakke

Encounter God in the City
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Published: September 05, 2006
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3389
  • ISBN: 9780830833894

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God is at work in the city. And he invites his people to join him. But the city is not merely a mission field for Christians to target. The city is also the environment where Christians are discipled and lives are forged into the image of Jesus.

Urban ministry veteran Randy White shows how God transforms you when you answer God's call to the city. Urban life peels away your sin and self-deception and challenges your unexamined assumptions about privilege, race, class and power. Experiential discipleship moves you from abstract theory to hands-on learning and on-the-ground action, revolutionizing your perspective and making a difference in local neighborhoods and beyond.

Passionate and practical, White's vivid narratives of experiencing God in the city show you how your spiritual health is intertwined with the health of the metropolis. Seek the welfare of the city, and both you and the city will be transformed.

"An unforgettable trip to real life in Fresno to see how Jesus uses real people to make a real difference. Essential reading for anyone who wants to see God's dreams come true in the city. Randy compellingly weaves stories from the streets with stories from the gospel and provides insightful guidelines for those who want to discover how God might want to use their mustard seeds in the city."

Tom Sine, founder and director, Mustard Seed Associates, author of Joining God's Conspiracy and Living on Purpose,

"Cities are to be loved. Living, learning and loving the city makes a huge difference in personal transformation as well as ministry. Randy White's Encounter God in the City is biblical, practical and full of beautiful stories. An important read for all followers of Jesus."

Dr. John Perkins, founder, Christian Community Development Association, and Rev. Dr. Wayne Gordon, president, Christian Community Development Association, and pastor, Lawndale Community Church, Chicago

"Encounter God in the City is a road map to becoming an apostle at the intersection of love, pain and hope. Randy White has captured the bittersweet beauty of mutual transformation that comes in serving. Years of experience living among those he serves invest his words with power and give his insights an incisive edge, cutting to the quick of urban dysfunction. This book is both uplifting and hands-on practical--a must-read for anyone who wants to live out their faith authentically."

Barbara J. Elliott, author of Street Saints: Renewing America's Cities, and founder of the Center for Renewal, Houston, Texas

"What a wonderful book. Many people are talking about transformation these days; Randy White shows us what it looks like with his roots planted in the soil of his neighborhood. This kind of transformation removes the distance between object and subject as it changes both partners. I am already making plans to use this in my teaching."

Jude Tiersma Watson, Team Director, LA InnerCHANGE, and Associate Professor of Urban Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Randy White takes us on a mind-opening journey once again, this time onto the challenging and transformative pathway of discipleship in the context of the city. Based on his years of living in and studying the urban context, White distills in a manner not found in any other book I know the power of the written text in understanding his own transformation, even as he facilitates and nurtures a similar transformation among young adults and others seeking to appreciate and encounter God in the complex and often chaotic sociocultural landscape of the city. This book would interest anyone who is grappling with the question of what it means to be a disciple of Christ in our world today. Encounter God in the City is a must-have book in particular for those who are responsible for mentoring or leading others into a full embrace of and by God. White does us all a great service by not only sharing his story but providing tangible examples and tools for transformation."

Michael A. Mata, National Director, Tools for Transformation, World Vision, U.S.

"There is a redemptive art to urban ministry. It is the art of storytelling--taking the mistold tale of human existence and retelling the story from the perspective of the love of God. Anyone desirous of seeing this redemptive art in practice should read Encounter God in the City. This book is a must read for theological faculty in our seminaries. It is a how-to manual in contextual theology and experiential education. It is a must read for practitioners of ministry in the city who are serious about learning how to be agents of transformation, and a must read for all Christians who are not afraid of being surprised by a joy that calls them to holistic ministry in an urban world. It has become a must read for all of our students."

Dave Frenchak, President, Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE)

"Randy White paves the road for us to enter the Story that begins in the Garden and ends in the City. Here is a gentle invitation to participate in the healing of broken lives and cracked sidewalks, and to practice resurrection in the abandoned places of the empire."

Shane Claiborne, founding partner of The Simple Way community in inner-city Philadelphia, and author of The Irresistible Revolution (thesimpleway.org)

"From living in cardboard boxes for a week to running computer schools among the poor, Randy White overflows with options for following Jesus into our cities."

Miriam Adeney, Associate Professor of Global and Urban Studies, Seattle Pacific University

"I've been waiting for Randy's book for years. Here we have the broken heart and quick mind of an urban practitioner-scholar, calling God's people to believe they can embrace the urban poor for Christ. His journey and that of his family are really an 'every-believer' model. We can all do a part of this, even if not the whole. Thank you, Randy."

Lon Allison, Director, Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College

"Randy White knows that the Spirit of God was active in the inner city long before he and Tina got there. . . . The Whites know what incarnation means, to live vulnerably while hungering for righteousness and seeking shalom, the justice and peace of God."

From the foreword by Ray Bakke, founder, International Urban Associates

"Urban ministry has a strange, fleeting glamour that draws lots of outsiders for lots of different reasons but seldom holds them long. The ones who stay do not romanticize the poverty which surrounds them, but they do come to love it--the way Randy White loves it--for the many ways it reveals their own poverty. What Randy has learned better than most, however, is to also love his neighbors' strength and goodness, and to allow them to make him a better man. In these vital, practical, inspirational pages, he shows the rest of us that most excellent way."

Bart Campolo, founder and chaplain, Mission Year

"Randy White takes us to the mean streets of urban America and uncovers there treasures of the kingdom hidden from the natural eye. Years of firsthand experience living in the 'hood give him rare insights into the surprising ways God can be discovered among the disenfranchised of the city. In candid, sometimes painful self-disclosure, he invites us to look into the unlovely faces of the broken and catch glimpses of the mystery of the Christ who said 'inasmuch as you have done it unto (cared for) the least of these you have done it unto me.'"

Bob Lupton, urban community developer, author of Theirs Is the Kingdom and Renewing the City

Encounter God in the City would make for a thoughtful, reflective tool for all those who love and feel a call for impacting cities with the love of Christ.

Kevin Turner for The Journal of Youth Ministry, Fall 2007

Urban gospellers everywhere will be encouraged by White?s book.

Missiology, October 2007


Foreword by Ray Bakke

Part 1--Road Ready: My Own Extreme Overhaul
1. Don't Bother Me. I'm Teaching on Compassion!
2. Disorientation and Discovery: Kundara and Peter
3. Sandpiper Surprises and Reflective Learning: Napoleon
4. Action and Reflection: I Am Not Mr. Rogers
5. Fear and Faith: Spiritual School of the Pink Geranium
6. Involuntary Peel: New Skin Stings
7. The Smell of Shalom: Karly and Cassie
Epilogue to Part 1

Part 2--Accelerate: Getting Up to Speed on the City
8. Hidden Forces: Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain
9. Paul's Urban Tour: The Force of Identity
10. Zorro and the California Pepper: The Force That Twists
11. An Undetected Wave: The Force of Humanity in Motion
12. When Things Boil, Things Rise: Invisible Forces Revealed
13. Sins of Omission: The Force of Neglect
14. Hosea's Excruciating Assignment: The Riptide Force Away from God
15. Race Matters: The Force of Racialization
16. So Many Choices: The Force of Pluralism
17. Eating Kitty Litter: The Force of Innocence
Epilogue to Part 2

Part 3--Onramps and Speed Bumps: Steering Toward Transformation of the City
18. Personal Transformation That Leads to Community Transformation
19. Speed Bumps: Don't Misuse the City
20. Three Transformational Actions
Epilogue to Part 3

Epilogue: Grow Something New


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Randy White

Randy White (D.Min., Bakke Graduate University) is national coordinator for urban projects and executive director of the Fresno Institute for Urban Leadership for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA. He's an anti-tourist who has traveled to the highest-crime and highest-poverty neighborhoods in thirty states to help mobilize young leaders to make a difference. He lives in one of those neighborhoods and loves city kids, making mosaics and stained glass, watching elephant seals and writing bad poetry. He is also the author of Journey to the Center of the City: Making a Difference in an Urban Neighborhood.