Mission With

“Something out of the ordinary”

Paul Keeble

ISBN: 9781909728608

288 Pages

Published Mar 2017

Mission and Leadership

Paperback £8.99 Kindle £5.99
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How did a middle-class Northern Irishman settle in inner-city Manchester and co-found a community response to gun and gang crime? What does putting out the bins in a multi-ethnic, terraced street have to do with mission? Why is ‘where’ as important as ‘what’ for Christian service, and what is The Question Not Being Asked?

In this provocative and engaging book, Paul Keeble shares his story of living long term in a deprived, inner-city community, not as a flag-waving missionary but as a resident and neighbour who is a follower of Jesus. During more than 30 years of listening, learning, building relationships across cultures and religions, sharing concerns and seeking the common good, God has evolved his thinking from ‘mission-to’ and ‘mission-for’ towards what he calls ‘mission-with’ – an incarnational model that takes mission beyond events and projects and into everyday life.

Sharing and reflecting on examples from his own experience and exploring the wider theology of mission, Paul encourages us to consider the whole-life nature of Jesus’ calling and to see that through ‘mission with’, God can make something out of the ordinary.

  • The Christian vocation to live faithfully in seeking the shalom of the city requires a long-term vision worked out one day at a time – living and working with the community to which we are called. Living patiently, consistently, creatively and prayerfully so that we understand the unique and evolving character of the place, the people and the call. This book reflects the wisdom gleaned in decades of such dedication and sincere faith.

    Marijke Hoek, theologian and writer
  • Paul Keeble is one of those rare people who have felt called by God to live in the inner city long term. Many come to areas of deprivation out of a sense of call, stay for a few years, and then move on and move out. Not so with Paul. He has stayed and stayed. This means that we should listen very attentively to what he says in this new book. Drawing on a wide range of mission theologians and practitioners who have lived and served in areas of multiple deprivation, he develops the important concept of "mission-with" as the model for authentic Christian engagement with the inner city – and elsewhere. He roots this in the ministry of Jesus, especially His incarnation and the wider teachings of Scripture. It is a timely, authentic, powerful and important book that deserves attention from practitioners, academics and church leaders alike. I warmly commend it.

    Rt Rev Mark Ashcroft, Bishop of Bolton
  • I first got to know Paul Keeble some 16 years ago. But for more than twice as long as that, Paul and his wife Judith have lived in inner-city Manchester. They are there, not by accident, but as a result of a deliberate decision to live truly Christlike lives that, to use Pauls own phrase, "can be observed" by their neighbours. If your understanding of mission is conditioned by evangelistic events or church projects this book will challenge your thinking and cause you to reassess your priorities.

    The integrity and humility of Paul's life, the credibility earned by his long years of commitment to the inner city, and the intellectual rigour of his thinking mean that this is a book which will make you rethink such hackneyed phrases as "incarnational living". I wholeheartedly recommend it.

    Chick Yuill, speaker and writer
  • It's the very ordinariness of the narrative that gripped me from the first: the unheroic reality of living faithfully in, among and with people, and so expressing deep love. The ordinary courage and obedience of entering into God's mission of grace for an entire community is demonstrated with subtlety, reflection and care. Paul Keeble's story-telling is deeply thoughtful, and the theology it forms in this book grips your imagination and helps you breathe. You realise that here is urban mission, a description, guide, companion and way of thinking that challenges some of the transactional ways the church wants to work. It provokes questions and advocates instead for a present, personal and humble being, serving God in a rooted community. I highly commend this book and its author.

    Rev Dr Deirdre Brower-Latz, Principal, Nazarene Theological College, Manchester
  • We make the mistake as Christians of thinking we are taking God with us into any given situation. God is already there; our mission is to find what God is doing and join in. "Mission-with" is a missing element in Christianity today. Paul Keeble outlines a theological approach which is impressively demonstrated in his life, and this book helps us to understand that approach in a very practical way.

    Michael Harvey, Developer of Back to Church Sunday
  • Paul Keeble writes about Manchester's inner-city, our inner-city, with love and care because he has long been part of it. Faith may move mountains, but it is the commitment to community and belief in the people who make up the community/ies of inner urban Manchester that has seen people like Paul invest their lives over many years, driven by the feeling that we should and could do better. There was no naivety in this, no magic solutions, but a real faith and understanding that local people working together could bring about change, and together they did. Those who come to areas beset with the challenges of poverty and the many hardships it inflicts may come only to speak with the seductive tongue of angels, and are but that resounding gong. Those who come to offer love to the people who make up that community can, as part of that community, help change their world, and that for the better.

    Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Paul Keeble's book is a timely challenge to us all, lay and ordained alike, to rethink how the church makes its decisions about ministry and mission – and to start doing it Jesus' incarnational way. Paul tells us about the theory, but more importantly, this is learning from the real experience of committed Christian living.

    Bishop Laurie Green, urban theologian, author, Chair of the National Estate Churches Network
  • Mission is challenging to us all in one way or another, often to the point where we do little of it, especially in our own communities. That's what makes Paul Keeble's book a most important read. Here is a family who decided to live – and stay – in an inner-city location, rather than move out to somewhere more affluent and comfortable. And they didn't see mission as something to be "done" to people, but rather with and alongside those who live there. Yes, it's challenging, but it's also a very interesting story which I believe will actually be an encouragement to all who read it.

    Rob White, Co-founder of Hope for Justice, author

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