Your Place in Urban Church Planting
A Genesis church is actively involved in the planting of a new congregation in the urban center.
“Let’s make them blue,” she said.
“Blue cupcakes? Do you really think people want to eat blue cupcakes?” I asked.
“Of course they do! Blue cupcakes with sprinkles,” she replied.
She quickly went over to the cupboard to find the little plastic bottles of food coloring, looking at the deep red, blue, green and yellow colors offered. Choosing her color of choice, she went back to the mixing bowl where the bright white cupcake batter was enticing her to add some life to it with color.
“Take it slowly,” I cautioned her. “If you put too much in, you can't take it out.”
The first drop splashed into the sea of white batter and as her mixing spoon ran through it, it began to swirl. As she continued stirring, it all but disappeared.
“Go ahead, add some more,” I encouraged my young scientist/baker.
Not hesitating for a moment, she picked up the tiny bottle and squeezed in about 15 drops of the indigo liquid. Immediately she saw a difference. As she once again drew her mixing spoon through the mixture, she immediately saw the white batter turn to a deep shade of blue. It was EXACTLY what she had in mind all along!
I think God has a goal in mind for the city, just like my daughter had a goal for her cupcakes. God’s goals require his favorite instrument, the Church. But as long as the Church is willing to be content with one or two congregations in the city, the same thing happens to the Church that happened to the one drop of blue food coloring – it seemingly disappears.
But when lots of congregations come into the city, it provokes a complete transformation. Much like the white color of the cake batter was transformed by the army of blue food coloring drops, the city will be transformed by many active and healthy congregations in her midst.
The fourth characteristic of a Genesis church is that it is actively involved in the planting of a new congregation in the urban center. The cities of the world are growing at an unprecedented pace, with 200,000 people moving to urban areas EVERY DAY! Experiencing that type of growth means that EVERYONE must be engaged in church planting in the city – whether you live in one or not.
Let me clarify something. I am not advocating for more buildings in the city that are opened up once a week in order to facilitate worship for a group of people. I propose that God’s purpose for the Church is to join him in mission, so planting new churches in the city means more people engaged in God’s mission of reconciliation in the city.
I don’t want you to pass by another component – actively involved is a key part of this characteristic. Let’s side track here to a brief Greek grammar lesson. In Greek, there is something called a present active participle, and it’s when the speaker wants to imply that the action is currently taking place or repeatedly takes place. If we were writing this characteristic in Greek it would be with the PRESENT ACTIVE PARTICIPLE – a Genesis church is one that is currently or repeatedly planting churches in the urban center. It’s not: “We did it once and now we are done.” It’s a habit that continually keeps occurring.
So, consider these ways that you can be actively involved in urban church planting if you live in the city:
· Pray that God would open your eyes to the people of your city that need to hear a gospel filled with love and hope, and when he answers your prayer, be obedient.
· Identify a neighborhood in your city that doesn’t have a congregation and begin a weekly cell group.
· Contact a church planter in your city and become a part of a leadership team in a new congregation.
You aren’t exempt if you don’t live in the city! You can:
· Financially support a missionary that is planting a church in Genesis.
· Intentionally identify, develop and send a church planter EVERY YEAR from your congregation to the city – and if YOU are to be sent, then GO.
· Consistently pray for more workers of the harvest to enter the harvest fields of the city.
The challenge is to do something. Be involved. Be actively involved.
By the way, my daughter was right. The blue cupcakes with sprinkles were pretty spectacular (and delicious!). If she can do that with just a little bit of food color, just IMAGINE what God could do with a multitude of churches in the city.
The fourth characteristic of a Genesis church is one that is actively involved in the planting of a new congregation in the urban center.
- Emily Armstrong, missionary in the Church of the Nazarene