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Unreached [Paperback]

Tim Chester
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

19 Oct 2012

'Think of the thriving evangelical churches in your area, and the chances are they will be in the 'nice' areas of town and their leaders will be middle class.

I once attended a lecture at which the speaker showed a map of my city, Sheffield. The council wards were coloured different shades, according to a series of social indicators: educational achievement, household income, benefit recipients, social housing, criminal activity, and so on. Slide after slide showed that the east side of the city was the needy, socially deprived half, compared to the more prosperous west. Where are the churches? Counting all the various tribes of evangelicalism, the large churches are on the west side. The working-class and deprived areas of our cities are not being reached with the gospel. There are many exciting exceptions, but the pattern is clear. According to Mez McConnell from Niddrie Community Church in Edinburgh, of the fifty worst housing schemes in Scotland, half have no church, and most of the others only have a dying church. Very few have an evangelical witness. This book is about reaching those unreached areas.

The Industrial Revolution saw increased social stratification. It was during this time that middle-class and working-class identities began to emerge. And in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, evangelicalism appealed disproportionately to skilled artisans, according to historian David Bebbington. Skilled artisans made up 23% of the population, but 59% of evangelical Nonconformists fell into this category. Both unskilled labourers and the middle classes were under-represented in Nonconformist ranks. Methodists made a greater impact on labourers, but the proportion of Methodists who were labourers (16%) was still just below the proportion in society as a whole (17%). By the mid-1800s, perhaps half the UK population attended church. But contemporaries remarked that the labouring population was largely absent. Many congregations in mining areas were predominantly working class, but the majority of the working classes were not worshippers. In the late nineteenth century, the trend towards class-specific suburbs accelerated, and church attendance varied accordingly. Middle-class Ealing had 47% attendance, while working-class Fulham had 12%. Religious practice was becoming more directly associated with class. This was accentuated by the upward mobility of churchgoers. By the 1930s, almost half of Methodist members were in non-manual occupations, and by the 1970s it was three-quarters.

So why have we evangelicals been so ineffectual at reaching the urban poor, despite our origins?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: ivp; First edition (19 Oct 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844746038
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844746033
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.8 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Tim Chester is a director of the Porterbrook Institute which provides affordable, Bible-college level training for church leadership and missional church in the context of your ministry (www.porterbrookinstitute.org). He is a leader of The Crowded House, a church planting network (www.thecrowdedhouse.org). He blogs at www.timchester.co.uk. He has previously been Research and Policy Director for Tearfund UK and a part-time lecturer in missiology. He is the author of a number of books and series editor of The Good Book Guides (The Good Book Company). He is married with two daughters.

Product Description


Tim Chester has done the church in the UK a great service. This is thoughtful analysis at its best, supplemented by some excellent practical suggestions and ideas for reaching a part of British community that is seriously underrepresented in the life of the national church. Tim's passion is to make sure that the under-represented are not the unreached --Stephen Gaukroger, Director of Clarion Trust International and former President of the Baptist Union

This book is the fruit of passionate engagement of local churches with struggling neighbourhoods across the UK. It offers flashes of penetrating insight and perception into the challenges and opportunities of ministry in our more deprived areas. --Frog Orr-Ewing, Rector of Latimer Minster and Chaplain and Missioner to the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics

Tim Chester has worked hard to show how the raw, uncut gospel must be applied in the 'unreached' people groups of once Christian nations. He writes from both ministry experience and a passion for the gospel. He is also wised-up about the missional challenges before us, bringing valuable practical insight and needed advice for the reader --Joel Virgo, Church Elder, Church of Christ the King, Brighton

About the Author

Tim Chester is a writer, Bible teacher and church planter. He is married to Helen and has two daughters.

He is pastor of 'The Crowded House' Sheffield and a leader of 'The Crowded House' church planting network.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. N. J. Todman TOP 500 REVIEWER
I wish I had read "Unreached" before I began working on a church restoration project in a predominantly white, working class, area in South Bristol. It has taken me six years to learn many of the lessons spelt out in this excellent book. Both evangelistically and pastorally, this would have given insight into how to apply the gospel to people who for three generations have had almost nothing to with Jesus, his church or the Bible.

This book is a gold mine of useful information for anyone attempting to understand, and then grow, evangelical churches on working class and deprived estates. It is based on Tim Chester's sociological research and the hands-on experience of the Reaching the Unreached working group, which includes Chester and sixteen others. Chester includes their multiple voices, which gives a variety of perspectives, but without the book losing its one great mission imperative. As such, it is an important book because very little has been written on this topic since Roy Joslin's "Urban Harvest" in 1982 and because across the UK evangelicalism is so comparatively weak among the urban poor.

"Unreached" covers six major themes, one per chapter. The first two concern contextualisation and understanding working class culture. The third is on key gospel themes for working class and deprived areas. Personally I found this chapter refreshing. Who doesn't need daily reminding of the wonderful father-heart of God for his children, his sovereignty over all things including gut-wrenching disasters, and his amazing grace which brings peace and hope in the messiness of all our lives? The final three chapters give practical guidance as to how to do evangelism, discipleship, and teach the Bible in a non-book culture.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Helped me in my church and work context 7 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this an enjoyable and challenging read that made me think afresh about our church ministry to the surrounding area.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile resource 18 Mar 2013
By Matt
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I gave this book a five star rating as it is captivating reading and a good resource for me to us and to pass on to others. Recommended reading for anyone involved in working in these areas.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unreached 11 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was very interesting and relevant to what we are involved in with our church. I would recommend it warmly
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