TUMI seeks to work closely with urban church leaders and their church traditions to be renewed and mobilized for effective worship, community, and mission. Through a critical rediscovery of the Great Tradition of the early Church, urban churches, pastors, and Christians can reconnect to that broad outline of Christian belief and practice developed from the Scriptures between the time of Christ and the middle of the fifth century.
As a church passionately invigorated by the presence of the risen Christ, the ancient Church endured the challenges of schism, heresy, paganism, imperial domination, societal immorality, and Gnostic deception. The early Christians articulated a faith that summarized and defended the Apostles’ teaching, and established dynamic worship structures that led its members (many of whom were poor and oppressed) into a living hope and the presence of Christ. With a deep allegiance to the Lord Jesus as the victorious conqueror (Christus Victor) over sin, evil, and the powers, the ancient Church reaffirmed, reenacted, and embodied the life and work of Jesus in the practice of the Christian year. They carefully prepared new converts for baptism into Christ through their candidate training (catechumenate), and celebrated the presence of the living Christ in the rhythm of the Lord’s Day, climaxing in the matchless mystery of the Lord's Supper (the Eucharist). Rather than succumb to societal pressure, these believers lived a faith that enabled them to represent nobly the Kingdom of God in their time, and gave a great pattern and example for us to follow today.
The rich legacy of faith, theology, and action of the Great Tradition is the spiritual heritage of all believers, predating the distinctions of Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions and the layers of cultural practice, both Eastern and Western, affecting the Church today. We unashamedly affirm that the Great Tradition embodies the prophetic and apostolic confession of the Scriptures of God’s acts in history in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of this, we are convinced that a critical retrieval of the Great Tradition can enhance our ability today to bear witness to the Kingdom in a troubled and lost society.
The Need for Urban Church Renewal
A deep passion of the Institute is to retrieve the depth and Christ-centered focus on the Great Tradition, the forms and patterns of worship and ministry to be gleaned from the ancient Church. Urban churches, in order to bear witness to Christ and advance his Kingdom, must be spiritually mature and theologically rich. These resources offer practical advice in helping new Christians grow, and growing Christians reproduce. Don’t miss the abundant tools listed here, all designed to enrich your discipling ministry in the church!
Of Whose Spirit Are We? A Primer on Why We Seek to Retrieve the Great Tradition for the City Church
Today, the contemporary evangelical church finds itself situated in an age of postmodernism, civil religion, hedonism, pragmatism, and egocentrism, all of which (to some degree) have influenced the worship and service of the body of Christ. These challenges call for a new discovery and reappropriation of the faith once for all delivered to the people of God. To meet these threats and to take advantage of our present opportunities, we must be transformed by the faith once for all delivered to the saints. Read more on how w
The Importance of the Great Tradition for a Vital Shared Spirituality: A Safe, Easy Way to Renew Urban Churches
Vital healthy church planting movements among the poor assumes a richness in spiritual formation, a depth of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and an authentic love for all the saints. The key, therefore, to urban church renewal is finding ways for believers in community to discover and retrieve both the content and the expression of our one true faith, rooted in the apostles' doctrine and tradition. This graphic highlights the various dimensions of such a dynamic and enriching spirituality, one which balances personal piety with humble service, that emphasizes the Word and the Lord's Supper, that incorporates new Christians in a community focused on the life and mission of Jesus Christ. Renewal emerges from our commitment to live the Christ-life in community, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God. For those interested in building a confession, spirituality, and mission based on a retrieval of the Great Tradition, these documents can show you where to start!
The Purpose, Elements, and Advantages of Shared Spirituality argues how we can be transformed and renewed by a rediscovery of the power of the Great Tradition, i.e., that faith and practice from the time of Christ and the apostles to the fifth century. Sowing Good Seed: First Steps in Recapturing the Great Tradition in Shared Spirituality offers practical, easy-to-apply steps for individuals, groups, and congregations to learn how to keep “the main thing the main thing” in spiritual growth and missional outreach.
The Sacred Roots Movement: Retrieving the Great Tradition In Urban Church Worship and Practice
Join the Sacred Roots Movement
The Urban Ministry Institute is dedicated to help urban churches participate as fully-functioning contributors to the Church worldwide. Urban churches can defend the historic orthodox faith, anchor their faith on a Christ-focused reading of the Scriptures, and be informed by the Great Tradition. These “common roots” of the ancient Church represent the underlying tradition that particular movements and denominations draw upon, embrace, and confess. We unashamedly anchor our resources in a Christ-centered, biblical confession that coincides with the Nicene Creed. (read more)
The Theology of Christus Victor
A table graphic which highlights the various dimensions and phases of both the prophecies and accomplishments of Christ's work as victor over the powers. A thorough overview of the key themes of a Christus Victor theology, this chart provides a brief statement of each phase's biblical justification, select Scripture references, the role of Jesus' history as related to the phase, a brief description as to how that work is illumined in the celebration of the Church Year, and implications each phase has for our spiritual formation.
Christus Victor: An Integrated Vision for the Christian Life and Witness
Understanding how a Christus Victor worldview impacts our lives and relationships is the key to grasping its power to renew and transform our churches. This graphic document highlights seven specific areas that a Christus Victor vision can impact our Christian lives and witness. It provides suggestions and insights into Christus Victor's affection on our theology and doctrine, our spirituality and worship, and our justice seeking and compassion ministry. It also explores connections with our evangelism and missions, our use of spiritual gifts, and its implications on our congregational identity and life.
TUMI’s concise summary document on the perils, promise, and perspectives underlying the role of tradition, both for Christian discipleship and mission. Emphasis is made on the relationship of the Apostolic Tradition (i.e., the Scriptures), the Great Tradition (i.e., the essence of Christian faith and practice from the time of Christ to the middle of the fifth century), and our particular traditions (i.e., the communions based on founders of denominations and orders).
The Sacred Roots Movement: Urban Christians Retrieving the Great Tradition
Read carefully TUMI’s commitment to helping urban churches rediscover and reappropriate the Great Tradition through The Sacred Roots Movement. Explore with us new ways in which this tradition may renew evangelical faith and mission in the cities among the poor.
The Church Year: Following the Life and Work of Jesus in Real Time
Our guidebook this year is entitled If I Perish, I Perish: The Sacred Roots Annual 2014-15 available for purchase and online. With so many discussions on the nature of being a follower of Christ, it is critical for all disciples of Jesus in his Church to understand the nature of biblical discipleship. What is the meaning of biblical discipleship, and how ought twenty-first century Christ followers live as disciples today? This year’s Sacred Roots Annual will seek to engage through the Gospel readings of the book of Mark the nature of biblical discipleship, taken from reflections, considerations, and interactions with the Lord Jesus and his disciples during the course of his earthly ministry. We will find inspiration and direction from the example and sacrifice of Queen Esther (Esther 4.16), who, at the urging of Mordecai, put her very life at risk in going before the king unannounced, in order to rescue her people from certain death. Her resignation, her lowliness and voluntary placing herself in harm’s way for her people, will be a year-long touchstone of what it means to follow Christ–to risk everything for the accomplishment of God’s will. Her clear and haunting statement, “if I perish, I perish” will serve as the backdrop for all our study, discussion, and reflection on the nature of discipleship this year. The Annaul itself is called by this name, If I Perish, I Perish, and as usual is also linked to the themes of our 2014-15 Church Year calendar, Ancient Symbols, Today’s Worship.
Join us, as we contemplate the wonder and depth of our God and his salvation through the simple pictures of the early Christ followers. Through their ancient symbols, we can enrich our contemporary worship of Jesus of Nazareth. Get your copy of Ancient Symbols, Today's Worship calendar today, and follow the Story of the Christ throughout the year!
Church Year Resources
The Church Year is a classic framework employed by millions of Christians worldwide to focus on the life of Christ in real time. As an complimentary alternative to the civil calendar, the Church calendar has served to help congregations remember and be transformed by the major events of Jesus’ life. (read more)
Re-enacting the Christ Event: Seasons of the Church Year
The Church Year begins with the birth of Christ (Advent to Epiphany). Next, it focuses on the revelation of his mission to the world (Epiphany and Transfiguration). It reminds us that Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and the cross (Ash Wednesday and Lent). It chronicles his final week, his crucifixion, and his resurrection (Holy Week). It affirms his Ascension to the Father’s right hand in glory (Ascension Day). It celebrates the birth of his Church through the ministry of his Spirit (Pentecost). It remembers the history of his Church throughout the ages (All Saints Day). Finally, it acknowledges that at his return, Christ will reign supreme as Lord and King over all (Reign of Christ the King). Advent both ends the cycle and begins it again. It looks forward to his Second Coming as the conclusion of the Church Year but also prepares to remember again his First Coming and thus starts the Church Year afresh. Celebrate the Church Year with us!
On-site Consultations and Training
Our conferences are specifically designed in order to strengthen, refresh and equip urban Christian leaders in their ministries. We seek to provide missionaries, lay pastors, and ministers in training with the necessary resources to do effective urban ministry and to network with other like minded believers who are serving in similar capacities. These conferences attract urban leaders from across the country and around the world.
Our onsite workshops are one of our most successful and exciting learning experiences, hosted usually two to four times annually. These usually take the format of a one-day event or in a weekend format. Designed to be a “crash course” on the subject matter at hand, our workshops are rigorous, challenging, and thorough.
TUMI Church Planting and Church Growth Consultations
We are passionate about becoming the kind of learning organization that is committed to aiding and encouraging those who have committed their lives to the transformation and healing of the city. Our burden, from the start, has been to strengthen and mobilize the urban Christian community for innovative and effective ministry.
Managing Your Ministry
Stewarding your scarce resources and monies is a significant element in your overall ministry success. If you want to enhance the efficiency of your ministry, we have made available clear, effective strategies to help you design an annual process to better administrate your urban church or ministry.
Theological Resources for Church Renewal
From Before to Beyond Time: The Plan of God and Human History
A listing of the timeline of the Story of God in Scripture, with symbols attached to each major epoch.
Understanding Leadership as Representation: The Six Stages of Being a Formal Agent
Graphic illustration highlighting the six stages of understanding leadership as representation.
There Is a River: Identifying the Streams of a Revitalized, Authentic Christian Community in the City
A tabular document that outlines what we believe are the key tributaries of renewing an authentic expression of the historic orthodox faith in the city, the kind that can revitalize and regenerate urban Christian community. Built upon the elements of the Church confessed in the Nicene Creed.
A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future
Today, as in the ancient era, the Church is confronted by a host of master narratives that contradict and compete with the Gospel. The pressing question is: who gets to narrate the world? A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future challenges Evangelical Christians to restore the priority of the divinely inspired biblical story of God's acts in history. By engaging these themes, we believe the Church will be strengthened to address the issues of our day.
Church History and the Great Tradition Bibliography
This is our recommendation for a concise, yet meaty bibliography covering the issues and history of the Early Church, the Faith, and the Great Tradition. The ancient Church’s faith and practice can prove a handy reference for the urban church today. Check out these select works on the substance of the Early Church and the Great Tradition, and explore its promise for contemporary urban outreach.
Church Year Bibliography
Whether you are a beginner with the richness of the Church Year, or a long-time follower of the seasons of the Christian calendar, the following resources providing helpful overviews, descriptions, and discussions of the origins of the Church year, and its significance in spiritual formation. This is a selected, abridged listing.
The Nicene Creed and Nicene Theology
The Nicene Creed: Fidelity to Historic Orthodoxy
The Nicene Creed is our curricula’s critical foundation. It serves as our understanding of historic orthodoxy, and provides us with the content to create various syllabi for catechetical teaching in Christian belief and doctrine. We are convinced that a vital, spiritual understanding of the Nicene Creed can ground new believers in the faith, serve as a basis for doctrinal and theological education for the Church, and can be effectively integrated as a key component in our services of worship (liturgy). Furthermore, we believe the Nicene Creed provides us with the essential outline for doctrinal formation of the church’s leaders and undershepherds.
We offer the following documents to assist you in understanding the vitality and centrality of the Nicene Creed for both worship and leadership development.
“What Is the Nicene Creed” is an introductory document detailing its history and importance in Church doctrine.
Creedal Theology as a Blueprint for Discipleship and Leadership: A Time-tested Criterion for Equipping New Believers and Developing Indigenous Leaders explores how we can employ the Creed as a primary tool in equipping and credentialing leaders for ministry in the urban church.
The Nicene Creed and Leadership Development
In the Early Church, credential for leadership training involved comprehending and defending the elements in the Nicene Creed. As a matter of fact, this document served as a basic “bottom line” for orthodoxy in preparing candidates for ordination in the church. Not only can we appropriate the Creed in the same way for urban leaders, we can concentrate our theological training on the essentials of the faith itself.
Mastering this concise summary of the Story of God will empower leaders to better shepherd their churches and ministries. Memorize the Nicene Creed along with its biblical support to help you be able to defend its teachings biblically and theologically.
Another way to familiarize yourself with the Nicene Creed is through song. Dr. Don Davis has written the Nicene Creed in hymnic form, adapting it metrically in both common meter and 220.127.116.11. We’ve included a list of tune possibilities for use with these lyrics. (As you know, the hymn meter system allows any number of well known hymn melodies to be assigned to various sets of hymn lyrics.) With the Nicene Creed in hymn form, you can select well-known hymn melodies and sing together the faith of the Creed as a class, with your whole heart!
Practical Tools for Urban Church Renewal
The Let God Arise! Monthly Devotional
As a part of our own spiritual formation programming, TUMI organizes its spiritual exercises around an annual theme. This theme serves to integrates our practice of the disciplines, the lectionary and church year calendar, and our special days of observance. Each month Dr. Davis will post a devotional that focuses our attention on our annual theme, highlighting an element of it. Follow along, and be refreshed with us!
The Revised Common Lectionary
The lectionary is a Bible reading program drafted specifically in order to help congregations who participate read through the major sections and stories of the Scriptures over a three year period. The Years A, B, and C refer to the Gospel readings according to the evangelists, Year A referring to Matthew, Year B to Mark, and Year C to Luke’s Gospel. During these separate years the Gospel readings will coincide with these books. The practice of reading the Scriptures in public worship services dates back from ancient practices in the early Church.
Church Worship in Art and Song
Wherever Christians have gathered in worship to God through Christ in the power of the Spirit, they have created music and art to express their love for God. Urban Christianity is no different! The goal of all urban ministry is to empower the unreached to become holy worshipers of our God through Jesus Christ. One of our particular passions here is to enhance every dimension of urban Church worship, including its services, art, music, teaching and preaching, and prayer. If you are looking for new ways to enrich your church’s worship, visit this section. Strive to make your personal, family, and church worship worthy of our great God!
Through the Bible in One-Year Chronologically
Reading through the Bible each year is a sound discipline, but also reading the Scriptures in the order that the events occurred can make that reading even more enlightening! We have produced a through-the-Bible in one year guide with its content organized in chronological order. Adapted from the superb Tyndale House edition of the The One Year Chronological Bible (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 2000), this guide follows the Church Year's time schedule. You can now read through the entire Bible in one year as you journey through the events of Christ's work in the world, from the promise of his coming during Advent to the celebration of coming again in the Reign of Christ the King. Get your copy, and read through the Scripture in the order the events happened, and rediscover the Bible's true meaning--the salvation of God in the story of Christ.
The Master the Bible System
If you are interested in finding and studying some of the best scholarship done on the overall theme and mastery of the Bible, the following bibliography represents the gold of the bunch! These books can help you enormously in seeing the “big picture” of Scripture, especially as they speak directly to the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Bible’s central theme.
Sistema de: Domina La Biblia
Sistema Domina La Biblia es un régimen de cuatro series de memorización de escritura que incluye audio y recursos de video. Concentrándose en el texto central de las Escrituras, y organizada en un bosquejo fácil de usar, el sistema está dividido en cuatro series, cada una explicada cuidadosamente y arreglada para uso personal o estudio en grupo de nuestro Sistema Domina La Biblia libro de guía.
Church Matters: Retrieving the Great Tradition
TUMI’s definitive teaching on Church History as it applies to contemporary urban ministry! This workshop was designed to cover in brief the major periods of the history of the church, including the Ancient Church, the Medieval Church, the Reformation Church, the Modern Church, and the Postmodern movements taking place today.
Marking Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year
From the earliest records we have of the worship and education of the Church, we find notice of its obsession with the life, teachings, and work of Jesus of Nazareth. As those who called themselves the "people of the Resurrection," these early disciples joyously celebrated and remembered his life and work, and highlighted their connection to him by remembering and reenacting his story in their worship and life. Today, Christians all over the world shape and form their spiritual journeys through observances and meditations organized around Christ's life and work, lived in the context of the “Church year” (as it is preferred in Latin documents), or the “Christian year,” “liturgical year,” or "Christian calendar" depending on the tradition. As one document refers to the Christian year, it represents “the whole mystery of Christ, from his Incarnation to the day of Pentecost and the expectation of his coming again.” When the Christian year is observed with humility, vitality, and hunger, it can provide a clear strategy to lead an entire Christian community together in its discipleship.
The Heroic Venture: A Parable of Project Leadership
Rev. Don Allsman, vice president of World Impact and Satellite Director, has written a masterful textbook for urban leaders on how to organize resources for maximum success. This book surveys the wisdom of project management using the expedition of the Lewis and Clark as an organizing center.
TUMI Church Resource CD
This is our one-of-a-kind, comprehensive digital library of all the necessary info, forms, and resources to help you plant and multiply healthy urban churches. This CD contains well over 200 pages of church resources for worship, nurture and growth, service and ministry aids, evangelism and outreach, membership guides, administration and leadership tools, and more. Get your copy today!