What would it look like if God determined to show Himself through the united churches of a city? What would happen if Senior Pastors and Elder Boards started to pursue something larger than their local expression of the church? How could a city be transformed if business leaders united in a public imitation of God’s ways?
For years … potentially going all the way back to the New Testament church … believers have dreamed about what a citywide movement of God would look like.
How would my family engage with this movement? How much impact would it have on the direction of our church? Would a citywide movement of God transform my co-workers and business associates? How would we pray for each other? What would unified worship look like among the churches?
I like to think that Paul may have asked God about some of these things. Of course, there were a lot fewer denominations in those days (none). Church splits were unheard of. But, you know that Paul was eager for all of Ephesus to be swept up in a movement of God. You have to believe he prayed – like Jesus – for the believers to stand and move as one in cities like Corinth and Galatia.
Ironically, citywide movements of the Gospel have not been the norm over the last two thousand years. In fact, it is a lot easier for me to remember movements outside the church than to think of faith-based movements. The “Occupy Movement” has been easily identifiable over the last few years. The Civil Rights movement is still at the forefront of the American conscious and is being “revisited” in some ways. Then, I think of the Arab Spring, the Labor Movement, the Women’s Liberation Movement and LBGT movements.
But, I struggle to think of many memorable citywide church movements.
With that backdrop, it is still far too early to identify what GenerousChurch is experiencing as citywide movements. But, in two prominent cities, we are seeing God gather believers around some interesting ideas. In both Kansas City and Milwaukee, God seems to be calling churches to a new form of full-life generosity. He is prompting business leaders and church leaders to join hands in an effort to transform the landscape. He is stimulating people across denominational lines to put aside theological differences and rally around the banners of the Kingdom of God and the extravagant generosity of the King.
In both Kansas City and Milwaukee, there are certain elements that are driving these “mini-movements.” For example, both cities have been steeped in prayer for years…preparing them for this moment. Both cities have people engaging as apostles of the message. Both cities have igniters who have been empowered by the apostles to start a firestorm within their cities. (If you want to see a great example of how apostles and igniters work, watch this viral, 3-minute Ted talk from Derek Sivers. The apostle is the “lone nut” and the igniter is the “first follower.”) And in both cities, funders are standing up to say, “God has entrusted me with much and I want to spread this message to my city.”
As a result, both Kansas City and Milwaukee have multiple churches that are starting to unleash their people to be generous disciples. These churches are starting to spread a generosity virus that is appealing to believers and non-believers alike. They are empowering more and more people to live selfless, sacrificial, Kingdom-oriented lives that are characterized by intentionally encouraging others, serving, forgiving, showing compassion. Although these are the early stages of this process, the results have us asking questions like, “How could these cities be transformed if some of its key business leaders and church leaders united around intentional imitations of God’s generous ways?”
Pray for Kansas City.
Pray for Milwaukee.
And start praying that God would show you how you could be used to transform your own city.
To see some of the fun things that are happening in Kansas City and Milwaukee, check out these links: