Linking Arms, Linking Lives

How Urban-Suburban Partnerships Can Transform Communities

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Among the various lines drawn between people in the church--male and female, young and old, black and white, rich and poor, Republican and Democrat--there is the line between the urban and the suburban. The stereotypes of the edgy, socially active, multicultural urban Christian and the middle-class, comfortable, upwardly mobile suburban Christian mix fact and fiction. Linking Arms, Linking Lives looks beyond stereotypes and makes a compelling case for partnership that crosses urban and suburban for effective ministry among the poor.
Drawing from a growing network of development practitioners, pastors, and theologians, this book focuses on the experiences of partnership between urban and suburban entities to provide both theological foundations and practical guidelines for those who desire to partner effectively. All who want to find viable ways to help the poor will welcome this thoughtful and hope-filled book. Includes a Foreword by Noel Castellanos.


"We are moving into a new era of urban life, an era in which the poor and rich alike live in both the city and the suburbs. To meet the new challenges, God is calling us back to biblical community to serve and to testify. Linking Arms, Linking Lives is the cutting edge of this movement. Taken seriously, this book will redefine ministry. This work, with sensitivity and insight, exposes what nearly always lies beneath the surface of urban-suburban partnership attempts. The authors, all experienced and field-tested leaders, not only show us why we need biblical community, but how. This is a field guide like none other, a book for Christians everywhere to read and carry with them."--Michael O. Emerson, Allyn & Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology; founding director, Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life, Rice University; author, Against All Odds, People of the Dream, and Divided by Faith, United by Faith

"This book has teeth on it--not just vision but the tools to build the vision. Linking Arms, Linking Lives is a beautiful invitation to bust out of the ghettos of wealth and poverty and reimagine the world together. The harmony of voices that created this book are contemporary heroes of the faith whose experiences bring their words to life. May it move us closer to God's dream for our neighborhoods and world."--Shane Claiborne, author, activist, and recovering sinner,

"Linking Arms, Linking Lives informs the Christian church on why and how we should speak to each other. It is a biblically based, practical approach to how we can unite urban and suburban Christians under Christ's lordship to do ministry."--Luis Cortés Jr., president, Esperanza

"The geography and demography of America's urban-suburban world is changing rapidly. The suburban better-off are living closer geographically to the urban poor than ever before but are also more completely separated from their poor neighbors. This separation is affecting the church as it tends to be the church of one group or the other, but seldom of both at the same time. Being separated impoverishes both sides and undermines the ability of local churches to deal with issues of poverty, racism, and injustice.
"This book is a call to partnership, to seeking out and becoming neighbors across the urban-suburban divide. Written by four giants in the evangelical engagement with the poor in the city over the last forty years, this book provides the biblical insights and practical wisdom any congregation can use to become living witnesses to the whole gospel of Jesus Christ."--Bryant L. Myers, professor of international development, School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Linking Arms, Linking Lives offers compelling reasons, comprehensive guidance, and relevant practices for implementing urban-suburban partnerships in the twenty-first century. The experience and wisdom of these veterans of community ministry combined with a treasure trove of contemporary examples makes this book a resource rich gift. I highly recommend it!"--Curtiss Paul DeYoung, professor of reconciliation studies, Bethel University

"The vast changes taking place in the city require that the church discover new ways of seeing urban mission, and develops new strategies, new partnerships, and a host of new leaders to carry it out. This book has its finger on the pulse of the new global city, and every practitioner committed to God's work there will love it."--Randy White, national coordinator for urban projects, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

The Authors

  1. Ronald J. Sider

    Ronald J. Sider

    Ronald J. Sider (1939-2022; PhD, Yale University) was the founder and president emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action and served as distinguished professor of theology, holistic ministry, and public policy at Palmer Theological Seminary at Eastern...

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  2. John Perkins

    John Perkins

    John M. Perkins is cofounder of the Christian Community Development Association and director of the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the author of many books, including Let Justice Roll Down,...

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  3. John M. Perkins

    John M. Perkins

    John M. Perkins is cofounder of the Christian Community Development Association and director of the John M. Perkins Foundation for Reconciliation and Development in Jackson, Mississippi. He is the author of many books, including Dream with Me and Let...

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  4. Wayne L. Gordon

    Wayne L. Gordon

    Wayne Gordon is cofounder of the Christian Community Development Association and lead pastor of Lawndale Community Church in inner-city Chicago where he has ministered for thirty years. He is cofounder of the Lawndale Christian Health Center and teaches at...

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  5. F. Albert Tizon

    F. Albert Tizon

    Al Tizon (PhD, Graduate Theological Union) is affiliate associate professor of missional and global leadership at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. His previous leadership positions include executive minister of Serve Globally, the...

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"Linking Arms, Linking Lives not only calls God's people to act, but provides a step-by-step guide for creating city-wide partnerships. It is a manual and reference point for anyone seeking to reach their city. The reader is left compelled and equipped to engage in city-wide transformation."--Christianity