God has a will and plans for cities like He does for people and churches. We hear about the plan God has for us. Pastors are quick to tell their congregation, “God has a plan for our church,” but we don’t hear much about cities. What are we missing?
A Theology Shift
In the Old Testament, and the New, we see God dealing with cities, and the people in them, as an entity important to His plan. It’s accurate to say; God has a will for our city.
God had a will for Sodom although He let Abraham’s prayers affect His plan. We’ve heard about Jonah and the whale but wait, that story was a story about God’s love for Nineveh. Jonah was late coming around but three nights in a whale’s belly has a way of getting your attention. Even then Jonah wasn’t up to speed on God’s plan for Nineveh, but God’s accomplished His plan. And the examples continue right up to the letters to the seven cities (churches) in Revelation.
God has a will for your city. God has a will and plan for Kansas City. We talk about it as leaders. We pray that we will respond as a citywide Church to His invitation. We ask forgiveness for our many personal kingdoms. We grieve over small prayers when God longs for our whole city to respond to His invitation.
My Personal Journey
Personally, God challenged me, a little over a year ago, to ask in prayer that I would know what is on His heart for our city, Kansas City. That prayer reshaped my life.
One of the first things God made clear was that He loves every single man, woman, boy and girl in KC. He reminded me that as the Good Shepherd He is seeking out a relationship with each one. He is not satisfied until every prodigal comes home. And if He isn’t satisfied, we can’t be either, even if our church or schedule is full. He cares about the city not just my congregation. If He has a plan for our city, we need to know it.
It is so easy to be all wrapped up in my own life, or my church, and figure that someone else, or some other church, should care about the other parts of our city. They are not my responsibility, right? The city is too big for me. That’s true. But it is not too big for God. We need to care because He cares. God works through people.
a god-sized dream For Kansas City
In Kansas City, we are beginning to think differently. As church leaders, we are thinking about one citywide church. Previously, if someone asked me, how many churches are there in Kansas City, I probably would have said, around 3,500. Now I would answer, there is one Church in KC. And the capital “C” in the word “church” is not an accident.
This spring we have a God-sized dream to see 100+ churches work together to adopt all the neighborhoods in Kansas City. We pray for 10,000 families to become “lights” in their neighborhoods and to live out the prayer, care, share lifestyle. We usually put this in the form of a prayer that goes like this. “We pray for the day when everyone who wakes up in Kansas City will have a believer praying for them by name, caring as the Holy Spirit leads them to care and sharing—sharing influence, sharing their story and ultimately sharing the story of Jesus.”
Churches are coming together to do a 30-day project in mid-May to early June where the churches will worship together, pray together and serve together. Pastors will trade speaking venues but speak a unified message. Together we hope to adopt 10,000+ neighborhoods. We pray the reach will be 100,000+ persons.
When we pray for revival to come to Kansas City, we don’t pray for crusades, concerts, programs and the like. We pray for every believer to see his or her self as a missionary. We say, wherever you live, work, study or play, that’s your mission field. As disciples of Jesus, we can live on mission every day and it doesn’t require that we change the external logistics of our life.
Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor. What if He meant your actual neighbor?
The internal paradigms are changing. We don’t go to church. We are the church. Sure we can be involved in a local gathering, and that is a good thing. But discipleship isn’t about attending a small group in our church building as much as it is about leading our friends and neighbors to Jesus in our neighborhood. Everyone on mission every day–that is the example of the book of Acts. We want this to be true of us in Kansas City.
What we are doing now
We hosted a luncheon in early February where 114 church leaders attended to prepare for this project titled, “What if the Church loved KC.” The interest is high. We agreed to pray one scripture together each week to prepare our hearts. The scripture’s mounted over an iconic picture of Kansas City. The photo and scripture change every week. We are praying and sharing them on social media to prepare our hearts.
We are developing tools for individuals, like a thirty-day Spiritual Journey that lays the spiritual and biblical foundation, and a Field Guide that gives step-by-step instructions on how to adopt your neighborhood and live on mission.
There isn’t time to tell about the many other things God is doing, but hopefully, we will think and pray differently for our city from now on. We want Kansas City to be the most prayed for city in the world. We believe that this is a “kairos” moment in time when God is giving us a unique window of opportunity to see His kingdom come with power in our city.