In the past week I have been in three of the worlds largest cities – Hong Kong, Beijing and London.
Beijing was my favorite. Its a wonderful city. So much potential.
While there I met with friends who are working in many other global cities like Tokyo and Seoul. HUGE CITIES!
Over the next year I hope to visit a dozen more of these ridiculously large, sprawling, intimidating metroplexes. Some of the most exciting models of doing church and ministry differently (and sometimes more effectively) are happening in global cities.
1. Countryside. To reach the cities we also need to reach the countryside. Beijing’s population has swelled by another 6 million people recently to reach 19 million, mainly due to the number of workers arriving from rural areas. These workers leave their families behind and many of them only return once a year, usually during New Moon Festival. If we apply all our resources to the cities and forget the countryside, we might see families devastated in the process.
2. Institutions. It is not fair to say that incarnational and organic models of church are opposed to institutions because many of them are starting institutions of a different form. Instead of starting a church institution, they start a Kingdom-principle-oriented social enterprise or micro-business and then allow spiritual community to form around it. These structures allow greater financial sustainability as well as fluidity for the communities to function as church, even if they cannot gather as such.
3. Monastic. Urban monastic models of church, and their modern-day counterparts that look less like monasteries but function the same way, are increasingly effective in the urban environments of global cities.
4. Rich and Poor. Reaching cities means working with both rich and poor at the same time. The poor need resources, empowerment and justice and the rich have resources, power and justice to dispense. Bringing them together is essential and it is in these moments that the church becomes church. A missional focus allows both groups to work together.
Many of the 50 holistic fringe expressions of church that we want to help young leaders start and develop over the next year will be in global cities. Will you pray with us? You can follow our progress with our newsletter.