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Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City Hardcover – September 8, 2012

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Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City + Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God + The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 8.9.2012 edition (September 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310494184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310494188
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

More About the Author

TIMOTHY KELLER was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and educated at Bucknell University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Westminster Theological Seminary. He was first a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia. In 1989 he started Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan with his wife, Kathy, and their three sons. Today, Redeemer has more than five thousand regular attendees at five services, a host of daughter churches, and is planting churches in large cities throughout the world. He is the author of COUNTERFEIT GODS, THE PRODIGAL GOD, and the New York Times bestseller THE REASON FOR GOD.

Customer Reviews

This book was well written, Biblical, well thought out.
David Fleischmann
Keller's latest book, Center Church, addresses the church in how we can do gospel-centered ministry in our city.
Chris Land
This book is a must have for Pastors, leaders, elders and anyone invilved in ministry.
Pen Name

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By John Gibbs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The "secret" of Redeemer Presbyterian Church's fruitfulness does not lie in its ministry programs, according to Tim Keller in this book. Far more important than the particular forms of ministry expression are the process by which they are arrived at, a process involving thinking long and hard about the implications of the gospel, the culture of the city, and the sensibilities of both Christians and non-Christians in the city.

The book is essentially a manual for creating a theological vision for a city, being a faithful re-statement of the gospel with rich implications for life, ministry, and mission in a type of culture at a moment in history. The book starts by discussing what the gospel is, and what is involved in gospel renewal. It then discusses the importance of gospel contextualisation and how it relates to a city, and finally movement dynamics including mission, institutions and integrative ministry.

While leaders of established churches may not spend much time considering the theological implications of their church practices, church planters (unless they are merely following someone else's template) are inevitably faced with the task of thinking through what the new church is going to look like, how it is going to explain the gospel to the local people groups, and how it is going to embody Christian community. These are challenging theological issues, and the book provides excellent source material to assist in the process.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Darryl Dash on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
​If you want a philosophy of ministry, I'm not your guy. I've written them. I've even assigned and graded them. I don't like most of them, though. Some are theological, but don't tell me much about ministry. Some are programmatic, and end up becoming too prescriptive. Neither is helpful.

What we need, according to Tim Keller, is middleware. Middleware is like the operating system on your computer. It's neither the hardware (like theology), nor is it the application (the programs). In the church, this middleware -- a theological vision for ministry, really -- is more practical than doctrinal beliefs alone, but more theological than "how-to" steps for ministry. It is, it turns out, exactly what we need, and it's what Keller aims to deliver in his tome Center Church.

Yes, it's a tome. The book is almost 400 pages, and the audiobook is almost 23 hours long. It's formatted like a textbook with lots of sidebars, and some tables and sidebars. As Mike Wittmer writes, "The only thing it's missing is a few pictures of U.S. Presidents, and I'd be back in high school."​ (The sidebars are one reason why the print version is superior to the audiobook or the ebook format. There's no real way for the sidebars to have the same flow on a Kindle, much less an audiobook.)

​The book delivers exactly what you'd expect from Tim Keller: a scholarly but practical look at ministry. The book is broken into three sections: Gospel, City, and Movement.

First, he begins with the gospel, helping us think carefully about what it is and what it isn't. He also describes how the gospel renews the church. Chapter 6, "The Work of Gospel Renewal," is worth the price of the book itself for any pastor who wants to see the church revived.

Second, Keller writes on the city.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Rusty on September 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I love this book! Dr. Keller has given a wonderful resource to the church. Any leader or pastor who wants to become clearer and more relevant to the people they are trying to reach would be helped by this book. It is not a book to speed read or skim through. It is a book that requires reflexion and thought, hard thought especially to apply to your specific situation. Dr. Keller argues for a theological vision and then builds a matrix one can pick up and apply with effort to ones own place and time. Dr. Keller starts out asking a few essential questions;

What is the gospel and how do we bring it to bear on the hearts of people today?
What is this culture like and how can we both connect to it and challenge it in our communication?
Where are we located, and how does this affect our ministry?
To what degree and how should Christian lay-people be involved in civic life and cultural production?
How do the various ministries in a church, word and deed, community and instruction, relate to one another?
How innovative will our church be and how traditional?
How will our church relate to other churches in our city and region?
How will we make our case to the culture about the truth of Christianity?

Next Dr. Keller fleshes out the answers in a clear and concise manner, making it simple for leaders to develop their own answers for their own situations. This is building what Dr. Keller calls a "theological vision" which he defines as "a faithful restatement of the gospel with rich implications for life, ministry, and mission in a type of culture at a moment in history."

The one minor objection I had for this book (I now see it as an advantage) was that there are many large sidebars throughout the text.
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