FCS Urban Ministries: focused community strategies




Urban Perspectives

…reflections on faith, grace, and the city

Urban Perspectives is a collection of monthly reflections about life and faith in the city. Bob Lupton, founder of FCS Urban Ministries, offers us personal glimpses and poignant stories of a journey he began more than 30 years ago when he responded to a call of God to live and serve among the urban poor.

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FCS Resources

Toxic Charity

How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (and How To Reverse It)

By Robert D. Lupton

Churches and charities have fallen into the bad habit of creating programs to help the poor when in reality the only people they are helping are themselves, creating a toxic charity that needs to be reexamined and fixed. In this groundbreaking book, Lupton shows how good-intentioned people are actually hurting the very people they’re trying to help. The poor end up feeling judged, looked down upon, only worthy of charity and handouts that end up making them more dependent instead of learning skills to help themselves. Churches and charitable organizations, though good-intentioned, have missed the mark when it comes to serving the poor, creating a toxic form of charity. Lupton says that a better system would be to treat the poor as business partners, empowering them to start businesses, build houses, plan communities, etc. He offers specific organizations as examples of this healthier model of charity and gives practical ideas for how to get involved in service projects that truly help. Together, we can serve our world in a way that actually effects life-altering change.


Theirs Is The Kingdom

Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America

By Robert D. Lupton,
HarperSanFrancisco, ISBN: 006-065307-8


Robert Lupton – educated and middle class – moved into a high crime area of Atlanta with the intention of bringing Christ’s message into the ghetto. In this insightful and moving series of vignettes, he shows how his experiences there shattered many of his assumptions about himself and the nature of poverty in America. He soon found that his mission was as much about his own salvation as it was about that of the urban poor. He was surprised to learn that a spiritual life had already taken root in the urban soil, exposing his own patronizing attitudes, materialism, and biases.

Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life

Rethinking Ministry to the Poor

By Robert D. Lupton,
Published by Regal Books


The urban landscape is changing and, as a result, urban ministries are at a crossroads. If the Church is to be an effective agent of compassion and justice, we must change our mission strategies. In this revised and expanded edition of And You Call Yourself A Christian, Bob Lupton, asks tough questions about service providing and community building to help us enhance our effectiveness. Among the questions: What dilemmas do caring people encounter to faithfully carry out the teaching of Scripture and become personally involved with “the least of these?” What are some possible alternatives to the ways we have traditionally attempted to care for the poor? How do people, programs, and neighborhoods move toward reciprocal, interdependent relationships? To effect these types of changes will require new skill sets and resources, but the possibilities for good are great.


Renewing the City

Reflections on Community Development and Urban Renewal

By Robert D. Lupton,
InterVarsity Press ISBN:0-8308-3326-9


When an expatriate bureaucrat toured a devastated city, he saw more than ashes and ruins. He envisioned a thriving metropolis where God’s people could find safety and community. Likewise, when we consider today’s urban challenges, we can be daunted by corruption and despair, or we can see opportunities for rejuvenation, restoration and rebirth.

Community developer and urban activist Robert Lupton looks to the Old Testament example of Nehemiah as a role model for community transformation and renewal. Lupton sees the book of Nehemiah as the memoirs of an urban developer who transformed a decaying city into a place of security and vitality. Placing Nehemiah’s story in juxtaposition with contemporary realities offers encouragement and concrete models for how our own metropolitan environments can be revitalized. Nehemiah’s example – and Lupton’s – offer guidance and hope for all who would seek the welfare of their cities.

Return Flight

Community Development Through Reneighboring Our Cities

By Robert D. Lupton

Return Flight is a handbook of practical insights and thought-provoking vignettes that portrays a strategy for reweaving the fabric of urban community. It offers a compelling case for re-neighboring deteriorated neighborhoods with “strategic neighbors” who join with indigenous leaders to bring new energy, vision and resources into low-hope environments.


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