Urban Harvest and contextualization

More quotes from Roy Joslin’s Urban Harvest to mark the thirtieth anniversary of its publication …

The fact that the form of worship in urban, suburban, coastal and rural churches shows little if any variation strongly suggests that the matter of worship and culture is a neglected area of Christian thought. If, as seems probable, the practice of worship in our urban churches appears to reflect a culture that is other than urban, then this is an area of Christian living where reformation is required. (305)

This query of the value of studying mental processes and language forms would not arise if our work was on the overseas mission field. The overseas missionary expects to engage in language study. He would not expect to make progress without it. Be we are in a mission field situation in our urban areas. Missionary principles ought to be applied to the situation. (76)

The leaders must also encourage the church progressively to reflect working-class culture in its life and witness. That obligation may run counter to some of their personal cultural preferences, but it must not be avoided. If a local church adopts a culture which is not indigenous, then it may appear to their non-Christian neighbours that repentance from sin and a turning from local culture are all part of a proper response to the Christian gospel. In addition a local church which is spiritually and culturally isolated within the community it professes to serve will find that it has added to its problems in evangelism, and has widened the gap between the local Christians and their non-Christian neighbours. (253)

By far the largest part of Jesus’ teaching was presented in concrete thought, making wide use of the objects and events of daily life. The teaching of Jesus was clear and memorable, not only because of the authority which He spoke (Matthew7:28-29), but also because He presented it in the concrete thought forms. His hearers could both hear and see what He was talking about. (55)

Urban Harvest is available here from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. In October IVP are publishing my latest book, Unreached: Growing Churches in Working-Class and Deprived Areas, was written with the Reaching the Unreached network.