Last week I had the privilege to speak at the City Changers conference in Cape Town, South Africa. Our friends and partner church, Doxa Deo, were once again hospitable and generous hosts. The gathering in Cape Town included over 100 churches from around the South Africa area, and also included churches from the across Europe and the US. In my address, I included the following remarks about what it means to be a City Changing church.
The Bottom Line: God has a Purpose for all People, and a Plan for His People.
Abraham was looking forward to something when he left his own land…a City.
It was the dream of a city, one that has God as its designer and builder.
This should inform the Church today about its ultimate goal…to see people become citizens of God’s City.
God’s purpose for all people it that they would be in right relationship with him, and do what all people were created to do best…”give glory to their father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
Here are a few learnings about being a city-changing church, one that seeks the benefit and purposes of the whole city (all people) and not just its own benefit.
City Changing Churches:
1. Help Complete God’s work for all people, and not Compete with the other works of His people.
We are not here to compete with other churches or ministries; we are here to complete God’s work.
2. Good works lead to Good will; Good will leads to Good News.
Good works create good will with people; Good will leads to a platform to share the Gospel.
3. Have a dream for all people…and a Plan for their people.
City Changing churches need a plan to change the city. Our process should move people to God’s greater purposes for all people. The people of our church are the program! We must equip and release them.
4. God has a Purpose for all people, and a Plan for his people.
The plan for God’s people (The Church) is to share His Purposes for all people!
(Jeremiah 29:7 precedes Jeremiah 29:11)
The New Testament Church is a City-Changing church. We are here, in our cities, because the early church refused to keep God’s purposes for themselves. They knew that God’s plan for His people was to share God’s Purposes for all people. This is what it means to be a City-Changing church.