There is Hope for the City!
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Cities will clearly dominate this century; with up to 70% of the world's population living in an urban setting by 2050. What does this mean for reaching the lost and representing Christ? How do we deal with the paradox of urban settings that promise new opportunity but many times deliver pain and suffering?
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Do you live in an urban area? If you don't, do you know someone who does? Chances are that everyone reading this will answer "Yes" to one of those two questions. So what does that mean for you? Have you grappled with what it means to represent Christ in an urban setting? There are more jobs, greater access to services and likely proximity to a church. But there is also rampant crime, emotional isolation, too many choices and the draw of consumerism. How might you as an individual respond to these positives and negatives in your personal outreach?
Engaging the Church
Has your church had a good discussion about its relationship to the city it is in or near? What are you doing to reach out to the urban areas around you? If you find yourself in an urban area, are you serving your community or do your congregants come from far off? Take time to affirm the positives about urban ministry and recognize the challenges and then come up with a plan for how your church will engage. Also consider your global missions engagement through the lens of urbanization. Are your missionaries or ministry partners dealing with similar issues as you?
Many ministries have quickly seen the power of the major urban areas of the world for engaging diverse people groups, providing gateway services and convening partners for training. But here is a question for you, "Are you ministering to the urban areas or using them to get your ministry done?" How are you balancing the practical benefits of working in cities with the huge spiritual needs of these places? How might you better serve cities, or if you are an urban-focused ministry, how might you engage others in the value of ministering in cities?
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