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Urban Hinterlands


Urban Hinterlands delves into not simply planting the Gospel and new churches in uncool places, but wrestles with our perceptions of what makes cities truly livable. Wrapped up into this are frank conversations and confessions about motives in church planting, the value of place, our deepest desires and longings, calling, and identity. In the end this is a conversation about the Gospel and what we believe God is calling us to. Should the goal of church planters be to move and plant the Gospel in cities and neighborhoods which are deemed desirable or livable? What about uncool paces? What about the urban hinterlands?

As city centers become more revitalized, desirable, hip, and trendy there is a wave of new church planters moving into these urban neighborhoods. In city after city there is a direct correlation between the attractiveness of place and the number of new churches planted there, whether in the suburbs in the past decades or trendy inner-city neighborhoods of today. In other words, the trendier the neighborhood the more new churches are being planted there. But what if that is not you? What if you feel called to go to those “in between places” ... the urban hinterlands?



"With soaring house prices in all the cool cities, especially the one I'm from, Vancouver, BC, Benesh anticipates a rise in church planting in between these central city neighborhoods and the manicured suburbs. Read this book if you're discerning where God is calling you to plant. Perhaps you'll end up in a place that you never thought you would." -- Daniel Im, coauthor of Planting Missional Churches, director of church multiplication at, and teaching pastor at The Fellowship

"By 2050, nearly 70 percent of the world's population will live in cities--urban, suburban, and in between. In Urban Hinterlands Benesh starts a crucial conversation about the role and relationship of the church in this new frontier--how does the church serve the whole city, not just the cool or comfortable parts, and in a way that creates common good without disrupting and displacing? If you're comfortable with being part of this larger conversation without needing all the answers, this will be a book that challenges and pushes you to think about planting and pastoring in ways you probably haven't before!" -- Zach Yentzer, Curator, 100 Creative Cities


Chapter Outline:

Foreword by Alan Briggs

  1. Living in an Uncool City
  2. Transitions
  3. On the Quest for Livability
  4. Place and Identity
  5. The Cost of Livability
  6. Wrestling with the Gospel
  7. What is Truly Livable?
  8. Keeping Cities Gritty
  9. What Do We Really Want?
  10. Loving Uncool Places