New Book Equips Urban Poor Leaders to Build Powerful Long-Term Ministries


T. Aaron Smith’s book walks with new and continuing leaders as they shape their ministries for sustainability and community transformation


Pomona, California — T. Aaron Smith’s new book, Thriving in the City: A Guide for Sustainable Incarnational Ministry Among the Urban Poor, is a journey into the heart of urban poor ministry.

The author integrates the voices of one hundred global incarnational leaders with his own 12 years of ministry experience in Manila, Philippines, to empower readers to be effective long-term leaders in their urban poor communities.

Smith first equips the reader with a sustainable mental framework for urban poor ministry — what expectations are realistic, what roles they will juggle, what costs they will face. Then, he asks the reader to begin making decisions for sustainability in their own ministry.
Beginning with the initial commitment to live among the urban poor, this second section offers applications for every step of ministry development.

Commenting on the journey that led to this book, Smith writes, “I began to wonder at the process of learning to thrive in the midst of the pain and joy of urban poverty. Though I had seen many incarnational leaders come and go, I knew that there were also many who had stayed, and in fact had gone on to build full and rich lives and ministries among the urban poor.”

This book serves as a comprehensive guide to landing in the latter category — to becoming someone who joyfully stays. Published by Servant Partners Press in December 2015, Thriving in the City: A Guide for Sustainable Incarnational Ministry Among the Urban Poor, can be preordered here.


Praise for Thriving in the City

Thriving in the City: A Guide for Sustainable Incarnational Ministry Among the Urban Poor is an outstanding practical guide that provides valuable insights into the issues and options faced by those who seek to live meaningfully among the urban poor as agents for transformation. It is a must read for those whom God is calling or are considering living among the urban poor and those wanting to support others in this path.”

Kevin Walton, Vice President, Thai Peace Foundation

“While incarnational strategies in urban poor communities are not new, every practitioner knows there is hardly ever any discussion of those issues that affect sustainability - until now. Smith has contributed something of immense value, which brims with authentic experience and insight wrought from the pain and beauty of his Botocan community.”

Randy White, Author of Encounter God in the City

“This book covers the waterfront on incarnational ministry to a depth I have not seen in any other book. It works with this theme theologically, biblically, methodologically, attitudinally, and practically. And the reason it treats the subject so thoroughly is because Aaron and Ema Smith live it.”

Robert C. Linthicum, Founding Director of WorldVision’s Urban Advance; Pastor of Urban Churches and Community Organize

“If you ever wondered what it would be like to serve as a missionary in a Majority World country, this book is for you. Aaron gives an insightful look into the challenges and rewards of serving the poorest of the poor. Aaron’s writing style makes you feel like you are serving with him and his family. It has compelled me to pray for not just the people of the Philippines but for all those who live in and minister to those in the Majority World.”

Jan Rayl, Missions Council Chairman, Manassas Baptist Church

About Servant Partners Press:

Launched in 2015, Servant Partners Press is dedicated to supporting the growing movement of Christians who are choosing to live and work alongside the world’s urban poor. The press publishes testimony, story, and training materials that speak to God’s transforming power in impoverished communities. Books and materials will be published in both print and e-book formats.

About Servant Partners:

Servant Partners works alongside the urban poor to find Christian-based strategies to empower those living in impoverished communities worldwide. The organization partners with local and relocated leaders to create churches that transform their urban poor communities.

About T. Aaron Smith:

T. Aaron Smith has interviewed many people who have made and are making this choice to live, to work, and to raise families within urban poor communities. In his book, Thriving in the City: A Guide for Sustainable Incarnational Ministry Among the Urban Poor, he shares his own experience along with the stories of many others who have found Jesus’ grace and power as they choose to live and serve among the urban poor.

Smith leads the Servant Partners team in Manila, Philippines, where he serves as a founding leader of Botocan Bible Christian Fellowship. He also directs the Transformational Urban Leadership program at Asian Theological Seminary in Manila, and is the lead instructor in Servant Partners’ Global Urban Training School, Foundations.

He earned a Masters of Divinity from Asian Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Bakke Graduate University in Seattle, Washington. Aaron and his wife, Ema, and their sons, Zach and Ezra, continue to live and serve among the urban poor.

Posted on December 11, 2015 .