Isolate or engage? This challenge confronts Christians who face the challenges of prevailing cultural norms that often run counter to a life centered on Jesus. This tension is not new. Jesus mentions being in but not of the world. Cities often appear to be places where unchecked secularism prevails, yet the idols of money, sex, and power are ultimately hollow.
Cities are a good place for Christians to engage culture: God sends Jonah to Ninevah. Paul travels to Athens and to Rome. Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. God does not give up on the people in those cities, nor give them over to their cultural idols, but wants to draw those people closer to him.
Our cities are teeming with people who have not heard the good news of Jesus. For the first time in history, more than half the world’s population lives in major cities. The implications for the church are astounding. People – the subjects of God’s great rescue – are increasingly located in cities. These same cities face a shortage of churches and believers to reach their growing populations.
Believers are needed to live faithfully within them: to display grace to all, to build community across class and race and age, to hold fast to a counter-cultural way of living, to not seek power for self but give it up for the sake of others. In short, cities need churches to be the living embodiment of Jesus to its people.
Starting new churches are one of the most effective ways to reach people with the gospel. The Global Cities Initiative was established to start ten churches in ten global cities in the next five years.
Churches have already launched in Lagos, Nigeria, Cape Town, South Africa, and Paris, France. In the last three years, three new churches have started in New York City. As the end of 2017 nears, we look forward to what the coming years bring, with potential new churches in New York City, San Francisco, Istanbul, and major cities in South Asia.
You can join God’s work with us!
- Pray that people in the world’s cities would see and come to know Jesus.
- Pray for the churches, both new and established, within them, that they would clearly reflect God’s love and grace extended through his son.
- Give to the Global Cities Initiative to help start new churches in major cities around the world. Your gifts allow new churches get a healthy start!