Prior to His ascension into heaven, Jesus shared with His disciples a life-changing revelation – one that radically changed their lives and turned their world upside down. He said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8, NIV).”
I’m sure the disciples wondered how this would happen. How would they get to these foreign lands – places where some of them had never been? And where exactly are the ends of the earth? The mission seemed overwhelming at best, but Jesus was quite sure of His plans. As history unfolded, something very miraculous took place. The gospel of Jesus Christ somehow managed to impact the entire Roman Empire (60 million people) in just 60 years! How did this happen, especially without any modern forms of travel and communications?
Two factors helped make this a reality. One was the work of the Holy Spirit who empowered the disciples and their mission. The other was the “koinonia” relationships that impacted the lives of people in every community they visited. The disciples were about going into the cities of the Empire. And, they also understood the value of individual relationships – the “avenues” for effectual ministry. They quickly learned that God orchestrates personal relationships for divine purposes. People “connecting” with people; transformed lives that transformed communities – all because of the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of relationships.
Reaching cities through community transformation is not a new methodology in the advancement of the Kingdom of God. It was Christ’s mission for the early disciples, and it is our mission today! The same Holy Spirit is ever present to empower us as disciples, and relationships are still the “avenues” for effectual ministry.
In the 21st Century, Christians are already established in every community and every city all across America. So why has an emphasis on cities become so popular in literature today; and at the same time, a painstaking task? The primary explanation is the explosive growth of the major cities of the world including North America. And, the growth is primarily immigrant growth, meaning that the opportunity to reach the nations of the world is increasingly in our on backyards! Never have we seen such opportunity to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to the nations, especially of the Southern Hemisphere and Asia, than we see today. And, most of us won’t need to leave our shores! But, more people will need to relocate to the cities, or partner with those who are there – following the pattern of the early disciples.
Do you want to reach the world for Jesus Christ? Then reach the city. The mission still seems overwhelming at best, but Jesus is still quite sure of His plans. You can help by partnering with those who are already living and working in the city. You can help to advance Christ’s plan of community and city transformation. Will consider your role? For more information, go to http://www.metrograce.org. Or, contact me, Kurt Miller, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partnerships to reach the city; to reach the world!