Mission With: Something out of the Ordinary
By Paul Keeble

Book, £8.99 / Kindle Edition, £5.99

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? How do Christians decide where to live, and does location matter?

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 happens to be a follower of Jesus. During more than 30 years of listening and learning, building relationships across cultures and religions, and addressing shared concerns, God has evolved Paul’s thinking from ‘mission-to’ and ‘mission-for’ towards what he calls ‘mission-with’. This incarnational model both challenges and enhances the practice of contemporary mission, taking it beyond projects and special events into everyday life.

Sharing and reflecting on 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.

Endorsements

‘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 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. This means that we should listen very attentively to what he says in this new book. 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

‘This book reflects the wisdom gleaned in decades of such dedication and sincere faith.’

Marijke Hoek, theologian and writer

‘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. 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’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

Here is a family who 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

About the author

Paul Keeble moved to Manchester from Northern Ireland in 1978 for a year – and stayed. One-time bass guitarist in several bands, he now works with the charity Urban Presence on various church and community projects, networks and initiatives. He and his wife, Judith, have lived and raised a family of three in a Manchester inner-city neighbourhood for more than 30 years.