WHY THE CITY?
“GOD INVENTED THE CITY, SO WE DON’T ABANDON IT—WE BUILD IT.”
–TIM KELLER, WHY GOD MADE CITIES
Cities are vitally important to the direction of the world. As cities go, so goes the culture. Worldviews, art, music, education, law, government, politics –essentially everything– are all profoundly influenced by cities. They are breeding grounds of culture that spread their tentacles into the regional areas around them, bringing change, innovation, and a host of other ideas and insights.
Also, cities are home to millions of people. “By most estimates, we have reached the point where over fifty percent of the world population now lives in cities, compared to around five percent two centuries ago” (Keller, Center Church, 154). If the statistics are true, millions of people around the world are flocking to cities each year, and the growth trends and culture shifts don’t show any sign of slowing down.
“The world to come, Scripture teaches, will be an urban world. The redemption drama that began in a garden will end in a city, the New Jerusalem. Heaven’s citizens will be urbanites. Drawn by bonds of grace from all races, nations, and language groups, new-city citizens will live together in perfect harmony as God’s redeemed people, his new covenant community.” (Roger Greenway and Timothy M. Monsma, Cities: Missions’ New Frontier, 27)
WHY CHURCH PLANTING?
“PLANTING NEW CHURCHES IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE EVANGELISTIC METHODOLOGY KNOWN UNDER HEAVEN”
-C. PETER WAGNER
The Bible presents a clear pattern of God calling and sending His followers. Therefore, believers are a people sent by God to carry the message of God’s love, mercy and redemption through His son Jesus Christ. That is missions at its core. The question then becomes “How do we best go about carrying that message?” The evidence is clear: new people are reached best through starting new churches. (North American Mission Board)
If the above numbers are true (and they are), then cities are full of millions of people with very few churches proclaiming the Gospel. This is a problem. People need the Gospel; cities need churches… It’s that simple. The question should not be “Why plant churches?” Instead it should be “Why not plant churches?”
“If the Gospel of Jesus is going to spread around the world in the 21st century, the great cities will be its launching pad.” –Aaron Coe, North American Mission Board