Loving Your City
Written by Colin Shaw
4 March 2017
Last week leaders from cities/towns in the North Island came to this city, Whanganui, to encourage and pray with pastors and leaders there. What a joy to meet and pray with people who come together to ‘seek the welfare’ of their city. Jeremiah 29:7.
What a blessing to see churches working together to reach their city and the progress that has been made. What we saw happening in this city is happening in many places. Christians from different churches combining to effectively pray, share with and serve their wider community. For some church leaders, this might be a challenge, even a threat to running their own church programme. One pastor was heard to say, “if I get too involved in combined church, city focused initiatives, we will not be able to fulfil our vision for our church”.
As a way of addressing this issue let me share the testimony of a pastor we heard from. He shared how God had given him a great love for his city, Whanganui. He then made what to some might seem a radical statement. ”When God called me to this place He called me to serve this city, with that as my primary call, He then called me to serve in the church I now pastor”. While this may seem a radical shift from the long held view that ministers/pastors have an all-embracing call to pastor a congregation, it is nevertheless a paradigm shift that is taking place in the hearts and minds of many pastors.
This pastor is doing a great job, both in his church and in praying and working with other pastors of like mind to bring kingdom blessing into their city. Does this mean that their congregations are deprived or hindered in terms of spiritual and numerical growth? Not really. A balanced, outward, purposeful city vision encourages growth as congregations believe and commit to God’s agenda for their city. It also exposes them to the benefits of receiving from other ministries and the rich resources God has placed in the Body of Christ in that city.
Until next time