Cities hold many opportunities to partner with the work of God in influential, diverse, and faithful ways
Over the past century, hundreds of millions of people have left rural poor communities and migrated to the world’s cities in search of a better life. Despite these hopes, many people have encountered profound inequality and injustice instead of opportunity in cities. Still, the Spirit is stirring across the cities of our world, revealing how they are hotspots for the Kingdom of God. Here’s why.
People migrate to cities with hope for a new life Whether to access better jobs or simply desiring to start again, cities contain the air of possibility and draw people open to something new or different. In their openness, the gospel is a message of irresistible new life. Jesus’ own life and ministry on the margins revealed that those who experienced poverty and exclusion were often most faithful and open to life with God.
Dense populations are interconnected in the city When people live close by to one another, word travels fast. The impact of church communities intentionally and incarnationally engaging their neighborhood ripples out and affects many. The Kingdom of God can grow rapidly, renewing and transforming every structure of life in the city: the spiritual, economic, political, social, and more.
Cities influence culture Cities birth innovation and change. What better place to focus energy, attention, and mission than centers of developing culture? As places upstream of culture with many centers of power, Kingdom transformation that occurs in cities can flow outward to bless many people. Work for justice and peace can be amplified in prayer, policymaking, and personal relationships to touch surrounding areas and future generations.
Opportunities to care for the marginalized are everywhere Today, over one billion people live in urban marginalized communities around the world. Many endure social discrimination, political disenfranchisement, and economic exclusion. Jesus calls us to care for the widow, orphan, prisoner, and the poor–and cities are central places to live this out. Jude Tiersma, Senior Associate Professor of Urban Mission at Fuller Seminary, writes, “The idea of incarnation, of walking with and dwelling among the people, of identifying with their sufferings, is essential for mission in the city.”
Cities represent the multicultural picture of the Kingdom of God The City of God described in the Book of Revelation is a multicultural center humming with healing and worship. Our own multicultural cities are dense with beautiful diversity, but there is often strife between various cultural groups. When cities are touched by God’s presence in love, peace, and worship, our multicultural communities experience transformed relationships with one another and a preview of the coming Kingdom.
For more information on Servant Partners work in urban marginalized communities in cities across the world, visit www.servantpartners.org/about.