Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City

Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City
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Keller, Timothy

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Publisher's Description

Many pastors struggle to translate their theological beliefs into fruitful ministry in the places they are called to reach. It's not enough to simply know what to believe (theology) or, on the other hand, how to do ministry (methodology)---they need something in between. They need help thinking about ministry in a culture that no longer believes Christianity is a force for good, let alone the source of ultimate revealed truth in the person of Christ.

Center Church, a collection of twelve essays by Timothy Keller, outlines a theological vision for ministry that is organized around three core commitments:

  • Gospel-centered: The gospel of grace in Jesus Christ changes everything, from our hearts to our community to the world. It completely reshapes the content, tone and strategy of all that we do.
  • City-centered: With a positive approach toward our culture, we learn to affirm that cities are wonderful, strategic and underserved places for gospel ministry.
  • Movement-centered: Instead of building our own tribe, we seek the prosperity and peace of our community as we are led by the Holy Spirit.

About the Author

Timothy Keller is the founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. He has also mentored young urban church planters and pastors in New York and other cities through Redeemer City to City, which has helped launch over 200 churches in 35 global cities to date.

Book Details

400 Pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: August 2012
ISBN 10: 0310494184
ISBN 13: 9780310494188

“In this important book, Tim Keller unpacks the gospel and gently but firmly reminds us that it is nonnegotiable. At the same time, he enables us to think through how we can responsibly interact with the culture, how we can—indeed, must—appreciate good things within it, and how we can firmly and faithfully apply the gospel to it. But this is not a mechanical how-to book; rather, it is a reflective meditation on some hugely important themes in Scripture written by someone who has exercised faithful pastoral ministry in a major city for two decades.”
- D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“No one has listened more closely to the harmonies of city, culture, church, and Scripture than Tim Keller. In Center Church, he not only describes the different strains of music but also tells us how he has orchestrated the results for the sake of ministry outreach and renewal. Now it’s our turn to listen, as Tim practically yet powerfully prepares us to participate in this great symphony of the gospel.”
- Bryan Chapell, chancellor, Covenant Theological Seminary

Center Church is an immensely helpful resource for the next generation of church leaders. It is theologically profound, thought-provoking, and energizing, and it will make you uncomfortable in measure. Once again, Tim Keller has hit the bull's-eye!”
- Alistair Begg, senior pastor, Parkside Church, Cleveland, Ohio

“We don’t need another “do ministry like my church does ministry” book. Nor do we need another book that critiques other church models. We need a book that helps us think critically and biblically as we structure our churches. Center Church is packed with Tim Keller’s experience, humility, and wisdom. This book will help you if you are serious about seeing your city transformed by the gospel of grace.”
- Darrin Patrick, lead pastor, The Journey, St. Louis, Missouri

“As our culture continues to move toward a post-Christian secularism, it is more vital than ever that Christians know the gospel well and know how to communicate it effectively. In Center Church, Tim Keller masterfully explains what the gospel is and how to relate it successfully wherever we serve. This is more than an academic analysis; it is pastoral coaching of the best sort, based on three decades of successful practice. Thanks, Tim.”
- Sandy Wilson, senior minister, Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tennessee

“Most of us observe and see the obvious. Tim observes and sees that which is unseen by others - especially when it comes to the truth of God's Word and the culture of the day. Once again, he has given us deeper insights - this time regrading the church and how she can experience her healthiest potential. How foolish to know of this book and not read it!”
- Randy Pope, pastor, Perimeter Church, Atlanta, Georgia

“This outstanding book, like the Manhattan ministry out of which it has come, shows how Reformed theological acumen and wise pastoral intelligence may combine to achieve spiritual fruitfulness in urban contexts everywhere. Every page illuminates. Keller is a huge gift to today’s church.”
- J. I. Packer, professor emeritus, Regent College

“Cities are challenging and complex but also important and strategic. And those who are called to minister in cities need encouragement and resources that fuel hope and effectiveness. That's why I'm so glad that Tim Keller has written this book. His passion for the gospel, heart for the city and vision of a movement of the Holy Spirit that will transform lives and bring hope and peace to our cities has compelled him to share his insights and thinking with us. What's more, the church he serves speaks to the integrity of his heart and the possibility of the reality of this vision. Be prepared. Your thinking will be sharpened, and your heart will be moved.”
- Dr. Crawford W. Loritts Jr, senior pastor, Fellowship Bible Church, Roswell, Georgia

“Church leaders abandon their unique calling if they merely think theologically to the exclusion of seeing the world in light of the gospel and helping their churches live in the world with gospel wisdom. No one makes this case more clearly today than Tim Keller. He resists the all-too-easy pattern of selling a simple model of what it means to be the church that fits every setting. Instead he brings to life the myriad ways churches are called to be faithful and fruitful in their own unique cultural context. Read this book if you want to learn how to ask the really important (and difficult) questions by which the gospel confronts our ecclesial identity.”
- Richard Lints, Andrew Mutch distinguished professor of theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

“I'm not exaggerating when I say that Center Church is my favorite book Tim Keller has written thus far. Perhaps this book simply represents the distillation of Tim's wisdom - the synthesis of years of marinating in the gospel, exegeting the text of scripture, and engaging the soul of our culture; his willingness to dialogue without diatribe; his ongoing commitment to think through the radical implications of God's grace; his great love for Jesus' bride, God's kingdom, and the history of redemption. It's all refreshingly here. What an awesome and practical read! I cannot wait to use this book with emerging leaders and churches willing to dream.”
- Scotty Smith, founding pastor, Christ Community Church, Franklin, Tennessee

“Tim Keller’s church in New York City serves as one of the world’s best models for gospel-centered ministry that wisely, biblically, and fruitfully connects with its community. This is mainly due to Dr. Keller’s deep understanding of the gospel and his exceptional gift for interpreting culture. His latest book will be immensely helpful to anyone doing ministry anywhere. Center Church is not a manual for replicating Keller’s ministry, but something much more important: a theological vision for how the gospel of Jesus Christ relates to culture, ministry, and the Christian life.”
- Philip Ryken, president, Wheaton College