Do Churches Help Cities Flourish?
What part do we need to be playing in helping the church serve our cities, helping our cities flourish as Christ-followers? Well, first and foremost, we need to be committed to Christ ourselves and then to recognize that we are the body of Christ…we are His hands and feet. And without our willingness to serve and not just be served, there will never be change.
I love the fact that there are a few Godly men and women in our community who are devoted Christians who have many, many friends who are not Christians. I’m not going to name names, but there is one religious leader in our community who is beloved by people of all faiths, in fact, so much so, that many Christians do not care for him. Does that even make sense to you? This man has Muslims for friends, Jews, atheists, Mormons, you name it. And because of his tolerance for and even love for people of other faiths, sometimes Christians look down on him with misunderstanding and even contempt. But I so love and respect this Christian leader and find myself trying to be even halfway as open and loving to others who don’t think like I think. That kind of love is agape love, Jesus love, and that’s what we’re called to.
That’s how our cities will flourish when we can come together and work toward the common goal of creating a society of love, tolerance, compassion and inclusivity. I hope that’s not offensive to you. I hope that kind of thinking challenges each of us to get out of our comfort zones, get out of our little safe churches and homes, and serve someone, love someone who doesn’t look like us or think like us. Pretty radical, right? And yet, the Jesus I know and love looks like that in the Bible. And that’s what I want to emulate…a Christ-filled life of love, respect and radical inclusion. Then and only then do we flourish.