Cities and Towns

How should we care for the built environment in the cities and towns where we live? "If the church is to be a witness to the Heavenly City," architect Philip Bess reminds us, "Christians must once again be not only good patrons of architecture, but also (and even more) good patrons of urbanism."

Lee Hardy traces the public policy decisions and cultural ideals that emptied urban populations into degrading suburban landscapes. For the early Christians, Barry Harvey writes, the Church was "another city," so we cannot withdraw into private religious experience or worship in congregations that are functionally equivalent to gated communities. Bryan Hollon suggests that the intentional urban communities of the New Monastic movement can teach us about faithful discipleship.

Holistic inner-city ministry is possible, Amy Sherman points out,when we look to the Old Testament prophets Elisha and Jeremiah for inspiration. Eric Jacobsen urges us to be discerning partners with the New Urbanists in traditional neighborhood development.

The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to help us articulate and live into a Christian view of marriage. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.

Download the entire Cities and Towns issue and the set of six Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.



  • Cities and Towns in Art, by Heidi J. Hornik

Hymn and Worship Service

Inspirational Pieces

Book Reviews

  • "Building a City that Honors God," by Benjamin J. Bruxvoort Lipscomb
    • Eric O. Jacobsen, Sidewalks in the Kindom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith
    • T. J. Gorringe, A Theology of the Built Environment: Justice, Empowerment, Redemption
  • "Restoring Urban Communities," by Lissa Schwander
    • Robert Lupton, Theirs is the Kingdom: Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America
    • J. Nathan Corbitt and Vivian Nix-Early, Taking it to the Streets: Using the Arts to Transform Your Community
    • John M. Perkins, ed., Restoring At-Risk Communities: Doing It Together & Doing It Right

Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of six Study Guides)