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Teens from Liberty St. Apts with Lori Fisher and Amanda Hallsbrook, student volunteer-mentor, together at “Blacktop Games”

City Kids should and can reach their own families, schools, and communities for Christ. Don’t neglect mission-centered discipleship.

Thousands of people are dying every day without knowing Jesus as their Savior. How will they be reached? Romans 10:14-15 reminds us that in order for people to hear about Jesus, someone must be sent. That’s why God calls missionaries to go! The children of today, which includes city kids, should be missionaries now and the rest of their lives. Therefore, it is essential that you and I understand our role in challenging saved children regarding the need for missionaries in their schools and communities.

Teachers should expect to intentionally incorporate a mission’s emphasis as an integral part of Good News Clubs, church-based youth classes, or even when hanging out, using practical ideas to share a missionary vision.

What are the reasons, aspects, and impact of teaching youth about missions?

Missions originates in the heart of God (John 3:16)

  • Teach children about missions to help them develop a heart for missions like God
  • Cultivate a heart of compassion for lost people globally and in their own city and neighborhood
  • Challenge children to reach their own generation/peers for Christ
  • Equip children with the foundational tools for sharing and living the Good News, the Gospel message

Missions is the responsibility of every believer (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:18-20) – City kids can be involved in missions by:

  • Knowing: Give them information about missionaries, different types of missions, countries, and cultures, etc.
  • Praying: Specifically for the needs of select missionaries, their country, the salvation of its people, etc.
  • Giving: Challenge children to give money, time, and encouragement to missionaries so that others can hear about the Lord Jesus.
  • Going: Challenge saved children to participate in planned missions outreach events, mission trips, or efforts regularly.

Statistics show that exposure to missions is one way God calls people into full time Christian service as a personal lifestyle or with an organization or church

  • 21% were called to missions as a result of a missions education provided in their local church
  • 20% felt God calling them after listening to missionary speakers
  • 19% were called because of their own family’s missions vision, experiences, and conversations
  • 10% heard God’s call through reading books, watching movies, and listening to stories about missionaries and missions work
Always include PRAYER as a powerful aspect of teaching missions

The impact of teaching missions to children is that each generation will be informed and inspired (Psalm 78:7, 8). If we are intentional and take serious our responsibility, young lives will be dedicated to the Lord for missionary service, fulfilling the Great Commission. If more reasons are needed than this, of course, there are other impacts on children taught about missions, which by the way, will impact their world.

  • Children will have a vision and burden for those who are lost in sin and who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Children will begin now to share the message of salvation with others
  • Children will grow spiritually through involvement in missions
  • Children will desire to engage local missions efforts regularly

Reality Checks: Before you make adjustments in your missions teaching

#1 – People are hungering for an experience of God, not just more information about God.

There is no doubt that teaching children about missions is vitally important because thousands of people are dying every day without Christ. How will the saved children you teach get a burden for missions and desire to be involved if you don’t make time for missions in your class or when hanging out? But how is this truth being applied to lives of children (anyone)? Thus, have children learn by doing missions work as well as hearing.

#2 – Presenting content about missions alone is a teaching short-fall and no longer the greatest need in an age where content fills the internet.

So what does this mean? Content used to fill a church auditorium or classroom because content was scarce and pastors/teachers were the authority or experts on the biblical content we needed to understand. You had to attend to hear a message or a Bible study or even children’s Christian education. However podcasts, YouTube and multiple social media platforms have changed that dramatically and permanently from what I am able to understand. As a result, you no longer have to be in the room to listen.

#3 – So many leaders talk about reaching the next generation but never include the next generation.

It’s going to take the leadership of the next generation to reach the next generation. Perhaps you, as the teacher, will have to make some changes and adjust your classroom or the time you spend with the city kids, to empower your students to reach their generation. Leading people to Jesus in a world that’s moving away from Jesus is an increasingly difficult challenge… and increasingly, it’s a larger opportunity. Who will I send… and who will go?

We have been fortunate, while ministering in Durham for nearly 30 years, to learn and experience what ministry collaboration looks like and definitely enjoy the unique expressions of the Kingdom of God. These continue to be lived out in communities, the marketplace, schools, and other sectors of our city today. As a result of learning and leaning into a collaborative mindset of ministry, some of the most sustainable and fruitful programs have been developed.

These programs or ministries were birthed out of a shared vision. They were initiated and sustained by a collaborative group, which offered their own unique gifts and resources for ministry success. Here are a few examples flowing out of the Durham Area chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship and its collaborators:

I’d like to give a huge “shout-out” to Reynolds Chapman, Executive Director of DurhamCares, and his board for developing and implementing a recent collaborative initiative which brought local churches together. Watch this video to learn more. Contact DurhamCares, CEF Durham, ReCity, to mention a few here, where you, your organization, or church can join us for the sake and welfare of our city.

CEF Durham is supportive and thankful for DurhamCares engaging our local communities and churches towards expressing what the Kingdom of God can look like on earth.

“Ain’t it good to be on this side of the table for a change?” said city kids while serving their community. While riding home from a basketball game, with a group of Hispanic and Chinese American youth, “Mr. John, do you have anyone in prison?” It’s the extra time we spend with city kids that detonates the EXTRAS around a community-based Good News Club.

Good News Club-ers serving their community during a Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s the EXTRAS that make any Good News Club special, memorable, and sustainable. Every child likes to have fun, work on projects, serve others, be active, and learn new things. Why not include these valuable academic and social experiences within the culture of Good News Clubs? I don’t think it’s possible, during a typical 1-hour club, to plan and implement the teachable moments you can experience when offering the EXTRAS to your students.

Special, memorable, all-day, extra fun times at the State Fair

CEF along with partnering local ministries, churches, and concerned individuals have developed an urban network for new strategies and strengthening best efforts, which will focus on 10 or more identified communities for the next 10 years.  A simple strategy of biblical and wholistic discipleship will be used following guidelines from Luke 10 and other passages where Jesus gives instructions to His disciples regarding building His Kingdom.  This is how the EXTRAS are birthed, developed, and used in local ministry. Thus, multiple and intentional engagements with city kids, in addition to the Good News Club, can be leveraged while incorporating this strategy.

Between 1999-2007, we started an EXTRA Good News Club, which enrolled over 1,600 city kids and youth within 2-3 years. As we intentionally made the club extra large in attendance, extra long with weekly ministries as well as the Saturday morning event, using extra wide-open games, and extra prizes along with an extra high expectation for every child, we got EXTRAordinary results.

Tennis Academy campers (city kids) enjoying pro and college-level matches

Here’s a short list of EXTRAS to use as suggestions with your community and school-based Good News Clubs in which we are using in the Durham area. Before you use these, consider your own area, creativity of your team, local resources, and connections.

Slip & Slide: City Kids style to kick-off Good News Club for the new school year
  • Any appropriate and/or relevant sporting events
  • Slip & Slide in the community
  • Field Trip: Local or State Fair
  • Attend a candlelight vigil for those murdered, incarcerated, etc.
  • Serve the community: take trash out for neighbors, serve a dinner, plant a garden, build a skateboard ramp, prayer walking, etc.
  • Visit all the buildings and/or homes in the community, pray, invite to club, or special events, etc.
  • Baptism Service: Use the community swimming pool for those who’ve made salvation decisions for Christ and have the pastor of the supporting church conduct the baptisms.

For the favor of God and to effectively engage your city, a community, or a local school, an intentional Christian witness and service, based on Jesus’ teaching to his disciples in Luke 10:1-9, is absolute. Prayer Evangelism is the 1st leap towards spiritual transformation. There are four key components within the instruction Jesus gave his disciples before He sent them out. These steps are interconnected and flow in the order that they were given.

As we reach-out to those around us in prayer, we do so knowing that we carry the authority of the Name of Jesus as well as protection from evil. Through our expressions of the Gospel (via 10 Keys of the Kingdom) Matt.16:18-19, God’s Light and Truth bring about change in the spiritual climate (attitudes and activities) within the community we reach through ministry. From Luke 10, the first steps are to pray for where you are being sent v.1, pray for other laborers v.2, and then go v.3, following the next steps.

Luke 10: steps and leaps towards transformation

  • Bless: speak peace to people and systems in your sphere of influence. v.5-6
  • Fellowship: build relationship with those outside the Kingdom of God. v.7-8
  • Minister: respond to their felt needs in the name of Jesus. v.9a
  • Proclaim: announce that the Kingdom of God has come near and is available to them through Jesus Christ. v.9b

Foundational Questions about reaching a city

How do you reach a city for Christ? Build a canopy of prayer over the entire city – block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, in order to change the spiritual climate.  1 Timothy 2:1-8

When can we say that a city has been reached? The answer represents a four-part progressive penetration of the gospel.

Level 1: Canopy – everyone has a shepherd – Bless the lost… Luke 10:5

Level 2: Relationships – everyone knows their pastor – Fellowship… Luke 10:7

Level 3: Spiritual climate changes for the better – Meet felt needs… Luke 10:9

Level 4: Transformation – the Kingdom is evident in one or more city sectors – Kingdom of God is near/has come to the city… Luke 10:9

  • Discipleship of city/community Matt.28
  • Marketplace redeemed/reclaimed Luke 19:10
  • Every Christian a Minister and Work is Worship Col. 3:23
  • Take Kingdom of God to the kingdom of darkness Matt. 16:18-19
  • Elimination of systemic poverty

6 Final steps towards reaching a city for Christ

“…the grace to reach the city has been deposited in the city; and if it takes the whole Church to present the whole gospel to the whole city; then prayer evangelism is the best way to equip the saints to do it.” 

  1. Establish God’s perimeter in the city in dedicate sites/homes as lighthouses of prayer (Repent/Reform)
  2. Secure God’s perimeter with sites/homes of peace (Reinforce)
  3. Expand God’s perimeter via prayer walking in strategic sites, homes, and neighborhoods (Kingdom Builders/Rebuild)
  4. Infiltrate Satan’s perimeter with acts of public prayer at identified gates, speaking peace in dark areas, reading Scripture, prayer walking in strategic public areas (Repentance/Reconciliation)
  5. Attack and destroy Satan’s perimeter by going into neighborhoods, to visit, listen, bless, and empower… (Spiritual Warfare/Reinvest)
  6. Establish God’s perimeter where Satan’s perimeter used to be through public worship, Lord’s Table, meals, fellowship… (Reclaim/Restore)

Questions or comments about Prayer Evangelism? Contact me here or post them at praydurham

Perkins to be honored and speak at Child Evangelism Fellowship USA Conference May 6-10, 2019

John Perkins answers the question, “What is the future of the church in America today?”

The ministry organization of Child Evangelism Fellowship will convene its USA Conference May 6-10, 2019 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, N.C. One of the guest speakers, Dr. John Perkins, will be honored for his 50+ years of Christian service, social impact, and community development. Dr. Perkins is a friends ad mentor of mine for 23 years. It will be my honor with much of excitement to introduce him to our CEF family next week. For all who will attend the series of workshops at the CEF Conference, called: “Developing a Heart for the City and City Kids”, please use this, my blog site, to glean relevant messages and insights regarding biblical and social strategies to reach city kids in the USA. Dr. Perkins and his numerous books have their mark on these strategies and the proposed City Kids USA initiative.

Dr. Perkins’ final manifesto on race, faith, and reconciliation

We are living in historic times. Not since the civil rights movement of the 60s has our country been this vigorously engaged in the reconciliation conversation. There is a great opportunity right now for culture to change, to be a more perfect union. However, it cannot be done without the church, because the faith of the people is more powerful than any law government can enact.

The church is the heart and moral compass of a nation. To turn a country away from God, you must sideline the church. To turn a nation to God, the church must turn first. Racism won’t end in America until the church is reconciled first. Then—and only then—can it spiritually and morally lead the way.

One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love
Questions for Dr. Perkins about his final book: One Blood

Relationships

If you value people in the city, then you will make intentional decisions to build long-term empowering relationships.  Intentionally doing so will allow you to cross cultural barriers and build relationships which enrich your lives.  Knowing people within the city helps cultivate an appreciation of their diversity, which enriches and broadens ones vision and ministry.  It presents itself as an indigenous vault of resources.

Relationships and leadership development on-the-job creates and affirms value, power, and a sense of community in the lives of your ministry teams.

Leadership Development

Invest in people. Pour yourself into those that God sends your way by taking what He poured into you and reinvest it into others.  It may take fifteen years to develop indigenous urban leadership.  It’s necessary, absolutely vital, for implementing an effective and sustainable ministry to city kids.  

  • Make spiritual disciples for Christ in the city… Matthew 28:19-20  
  • Develop spiritual leaders for Christ in the city… Philippians 3:10  
  • Lead others into a Christ-like life of Sacrifice – Suffering – Service:

Because we children of Adam want to become great, He became small. Because we will not stoop, He humbled Himself. Because we want to rule, He came to serve.

Reconciliation

A result of redemption, the end being made right with God, now we are His ambassadors… 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
Satan has a plan to alienate and separate us from God and each other.  You and I need to repent and forgive.

Unity Pledge

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am committed to the unity and harmony intended for His Body, the Church.  I repent and ask forgiveness for any way I have alienated others.  I share remorse for every thought, word, or action that has divided the Church.  I will forgive those who have sinned against me.  I will pray for the unity and harmony of God’s people.  And I will work with other Christians to move beyond any racial barriers, demonstrating the unity of the Glory of Christ our Lord.

Risk-taking in ministry

It is in the heat of urban risk-taking ministry that some of the most innovative and energetic ministries have been developed, which are still used today.

  1. After-school, mentoring, tutoring and other special programs sponsored by indigenous churches
  2. Long-term commitments to disciple indigenous leaders
  3. Training, teaching, and ministry development standards
  4. Bridge teams and young teen programs
  5. 10 Keys of the Kingdom and 7 MIT with song

Location and Place

Are you willing to stay and serve the Lord in a community of need? Living and serving in the city comes with a cost.  You experience life as your neighbors.  You struggle in the city with those that you intend to minister and help.  You share the struggle.  You have a bond – common ground to work from, which builds a trusting relationship.

There is a refreshing movement that blows through urban streets of America today.  It’s called incarnational ministry, which is simply to live and be enriched by the people you minister to.  Whether you presently work on the inside with city kids, effective ideas are born in the city and will inspire your creativity and enhance your ministry.

Networking

Again, focus on networking with others in the community to build capacity and sustainability.  A God-given vision will be inclusive of His Kingdom at-large. Indigenous partners and leadership with the same vision will empower people in the Kingdom if done long-term.  Here are a few areas to consider networking for capacity-building, sustainability, and effectiveness in the city:

  1. Organizations, cohorts, and initiatives that network in the city
  2. Church Partnerships
  3. Innovative Outreach Events
  4. Creative Ministries
  5. Diversity and Development

Strategic Planning

This is not the last or least important component of implementing and growing a city ministry.  I saved it last to emphasize its fluid and/or organic nature.  Its value is immense, thus, used throughout every aspect of developing a strong ministry to city kids.  Strategic planning towards implementation is just that — strategic!  So, this aspect will always be evaluated and tweaked as changes occur in the city, community, staffing, dynamics of individual neighborhoods, etc.

Prayer for spiritual transformation of the city sectors by the Ekklesia is vital for successful outcomes of a strategic plan targeting communities, schools, and city kids.

I am providing you a link to see a proposed strategic plan for CEF City Kids USA.  You will notice that it is currently a proposal.  The plan leverages the use of the 10 Keys of the Kingdom.  It has various metrics to evaluate progress over 3 years.  It also has space for scaling and changes depending on its success and reception by the CEF family.  This proposed strategic plan is focused on vision-casting, leadership development, and risk-taking during its first 3 years.

Your values, heart, and vision matter to city kids and youth

Having Godly Values

Why are core values important?

  1. Values provide the foundation for formulating goals and giving direction for ministry.
  2. Most strategic plans fail because values are not articulated when starting the process.
  3. Conflict arises often due to differing values.

What are ‘Key Questions’ in determining your core values?

  1. What is your ministry and/or organization supposed to be doing?
  2. What do you get passionate about?
  3. How do you invest your time and money?
  4. For what do you (your ministry) want to be remembered?
  5. Are these values action oriented?
  6. Does your (ministry’s) action or behavior demonstrate or address these core values?

Having a Godly Vision

What is Vision?

  1. Desires fruitful outcomes in ministry initiatives
  2. Describes what the ministry will look like in five years
  3. Develops a mental image that motivates people

Where do you connect with a Godly Vision?

  1. Catch God’s perspective on reality
  2. Recognize God’s desire for all people
  3. The flow of God’s redemptive purposes
  4. Seek God’s specific assignments
  5. By empowering God’s indigenous people

How can you know the vision comes from God?

  1. Listen during prayer
  2. Seek/Ask for God’s wisdom and counsel
  3. Minister with others who share the same vision
  4. Promotes faith rather than fear
  5. Motivates people to action which multiplies
  6. Requires risk-taking
  7. Glorifies God, not people

Having Godly Resources

Time: It may take fifteen years to develop indigenous urban leadership.  What are the implications when this decision is made? Are you willing to make such a commitment to the Lord for city kids?  Staying and Serving  This type of commitment is rare and not for the weak.  Will your vision be focused on making a long-term commitment?

Networking: It’s a must, biblically and practically, if you are going to survive and thrive in the city. A God-given vision will be inclusive of His Kingdom at-large.  Indigenous partners and leadership with the same vision will empower people and sustain the mission if done long-term.

Favor: As you labor faithfully and consistently, look for people, programs, and pulpits within the community that will supply the needs and gain ownership of the vision. Look in the city.  There is a vault of resources that cannot be found anywhere else.

God is saying “Go” to the people… yet in the omni-matrix of God, He is saying “Come” join me in the city where I AM at work. I AM here. It is good. Also… if people are empowered and equipped, they already have all the resources needed to solve their own problems. We need to stop trying solve people’s problems and issues,

John E. Blake & Dr. John Perkins

Look for Part 7 soon How To Implement a City Kids Strategy, which will wrap up this series of articles on Developing a Heart for the City and City Kids

How would you define success in ministry to city kids… actually, any children and youth? Does your adopted measurement impact your strategic plan? Does it help sustain and scale your organization beyond the current ministry year? Actively matching your organization’s purpose with how you show up and what you do on a weekly and annual basis is critical for success and defining success.

Forgiveness, redemption, and resolution are key components towards success which provides real hope and power while ministering in the city. John E, Blake

I’ve learned that real success begins within your own heart, acknowledging its brokenness and dependence on the Lord for Godly forgiveness, redemption, and resolutions in our own lives. Only then can we proclaim and live these truths, putting them into action, among the people we minister to. Stay with me, I want to share how I’ve learned to define success in ministry and specifically with city kids and their communities. I believe there are at least 3 Godly aspects when bringing resolutions to the complexities of ministry to the poor, marginalized, and distance from God.

Forgiveness and redemption

First, let me provide a list of personal and direct ministry benefits from forgiveness and redemption. At the end, wait for it, I’ll provide my list of what success looks like, in the natural, when ministering in the city and with city kids. Please offer your comments after reading as well, thanks!

Redemption from sin gives hope, salvation, and empowers us:

  1. For the hopeless conditions of children we see and teach
  2. For our negative attitudes towards the difficulty of city ministry
  3. As workers, we need to be reminded of the Lord’s work in our lives
  4. To confess our negative attitudes and repent
  5. To ask the Lord to do whatever He chooses to develop a heart within us for the city and city kids
  6. To carry the same message of redemption to city kids and allow God to affect the change that no person, program, or government plan can do

Resolution brings the game plan for solution with mutuality and respect:

In developing a heart for the city you and your ministry organization must have a firm resolve.  This is a passionate resolve, which prays and labors until a biblical and systemic plan is birthed and confirmed. It’s a mutual plan to accurately address and solve spiritual and social issues impacting the culture and lives of the people whom you minister alongside. This strategic plan is framed around three words:

Values – describes who we are and what we really believe. Core values are consistent, passionate, biblical, and distinctive convictions that determine our priorities, influence our decisions, drive our ministry and are demonstrated by our behavior.  Our real core values are exposed in the way we minister, to whom we minister, and also where we minister.  James 1:26-2:1

Vision – describes where we are going. It’s like shooting arrows beyond yourself – Psalm 127 “having a higher expectation than where you are… It’s projecting a vision for success and a heart for God… if you can dunk the ball at 9 foot, then raise the rim.” There are many applications in life, but the idea is to clarify and cast vision of where your organization is going.

Resources – describes what we will use and how we will use it to reach, achieve, and/or resolve the task of fulfilling the vision, which has been cast.

In part 3 the verse Psalm 11:3 was mentioned regarding …when the foundations are being destroyed… there is a biblical answer to repair and resolution to this social darkness.

  • Speak Truth with real applications for living
  • Pray (de-hijack prayer) for transformation not problems
  • Activate the Gospel (de-colonize and clarify)
  • Church active and community-centered
  • Communities and schools pastored:
    • Nurture, love, reconcile for them to flourish
    • Biblical principles are active and evident
    • Spiritual and natural atmospheres change
    • Systemic poverty and issues eliminated
    • Keys of the Kingdom are leveraged for change

Next Part 6 will articulate deeper and offer examples of Godly values, vision, and resources like: Networking, Staying and Serving, Risk-taking and others.

Rejection and Realization

From a systemic and spiritual perspective, I will attempt to reveal the roots of despair and decline in marginalized, resourced-challenged, or poor communities (whichever categorical term works for you). Due to attitudes of condemnation, misplaced compassion, and frankly, ignorance, a sick, broken, generational system of living in hopelessness has taken root.

What’s the Problem: God – Not God Himself, but a rejection of God by indigenous people of these communities and those in power who control and manage these communities. As a result, deteriorating social and economic conditions prevail. Systemic poverty, in every area of life, becomes the norm. Thus, their struggle, our struggle, even collectively our struggle is not only in the natural, but a spiritual battle, which needs a supernatural solution. (Ephesians 6:12)The struggle should not be with our fellow man.

Poverty in every area of life is the result when God is rejected (examples: Nigeria, Europe, US inner cities, etc.). Where do you see this in our own city? What’s wrong with the pictures portrayed by city, neighborhood, or school officials in your city? (example: movie – “A Christmas Carol” and other media depicting poverty). Poverty is often a source of alienation; inequity breeds anger; destructive survival and negative behavior pull families down.  Satan’s plan is very effective!  Christians must view this condition with the mind of Christ.

Spiritual poverty produces hardship in every area of life.  Especially for children and the poor.  Are they not the most vulnerable?  There must be a realization that unless city kids are affected by the Gospel and change begins early in life, the probability is that they will be pulled into the same generational cycle of crime, poverty, and ungodliness.

Regarding your ministry with children, respond to the following: State your purpose in ministry? For what purpose do you live/exist?  Luke 10:27-28 State your most important cause – Something that’s worth dying for… (your values and passions)  Do you have a cause?  State the ways you connect with kids – Nurture and care for the children you teach; equip them for living; hug them; build them up on the inside; most of their outsides are spoiled.  How do city kids respond to you?

Next Part 5: Forgiveness, Redemption, and Resolution with Godly Values, Vision, and Resources

This is the 3rd part of a series on Developing a Heart for the City and City Kids. Part 1 (below) began on April 16, 2019. There will be a total of seven parts to complete this presentation and discussion. Additional topics and resources related to teaching city kids can be found at CEF Durham and The Center of Light as well as this blog.

As I asked in part 2, How would you or will you respond? Perhaps a better question for a better discussion would be, How do you respond when confronted about social, systemic, and spiritual issues in the city? How have your responded in the past. Civic and Christian leaders have grappled with these questions and issues for many years. We, in CEF, have talked and strategized over these things for the past 20-30 years. Some progress was made towards being more reflective, in our literature, of the multi-ethnic children we teach. A few changes were also made in our teaching methods, which made an impact on our teaching curriculum and teacher training of the main CEF ministry programs — Good News Clubs and 5-Day Clubs.

Typical responses

How have your responded in the past? Here are a few general, but typical responses to the needs within the city.

Condemnation: Having attitudes, which say, ‘They deserve what they get.  Why don’t they get a job?  Well, Jesus even said that the poor will always be with us.  How can they live like that?  Don’t they care?  Look how dirty those kids are?

Cultural Chasm: Feelings of alienation pulling you back from the city. This is a humanly cultivated apprehension because of being culturally distant and different from those in the inner city. Cultural competencies are weak.

Curiosity: Attracted to a fabricated danger, risk-taking adventure, it’s cool, or a self-centered glorification by going into the ‘hood’ and doing good deeds. Picture-taking for personal benefit and conversations.

Compassion: God-centered and inspired attitude, which causes your heart to love, care, reach out, hang out, and be enriched by those in the city.

Heart reflections

Your responses are a starting point, now reflect on what your heart allows you to see. To develop a heart for the city and city kids, you must look at…

Broken Lives: Have you seen any difficulty loving the people of the city?  Increasingly, the poor have become nameless, faceless statistics.  The poor are no longer our next-door neighbors, nor do they sit in the pew beside us. They may be seen as the object of our outreach, but not as valuable, powerful, world-changers within their community… or our friends.

Neglected Families: Have you seen pain in the eyes of children? Have you seen children of the inner-city being neglected?  Do you appreciate the reason why? Many youth must care and defend themselves and their siblings, provide safety for their families, experience the lack of adequate life skills, yet have lots of street smarts, and are victims of few on-going programs to nurture and equip them for healthy living and decision making.

Negligent City Sectors: Have you seen the results of negligent parents, schools, churches, communities, ministries, and government agencies? When these city sectors are also broken, inadequate, and unsure of how to take action, you have a recipe for disaster and devastation. When evangelicals left the city both physically and spiritually, the turf was conceded to government agencies, liberal agendas, ignorant and irrelevant churches, broken families, etc. The salt and light, Jesus talked about, was mostly removed from the city… and the enemy devoured it.

…if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?… Psalm 11:3-7

What are the foundations broken and why?

  • Family broken — Too much selfishness and arrogance
  • Religion broken — Too little passion to help the community
  • Schools broken — Lack of wisdom
  • Communities broken — Fear
  • Society broken — Darkness

In this day and age, given the context of need in our cities, given the separation by race, culture, politics, and social issues that exists… given our history in this country — what would Jesus have us do?

Coming in part 4: Rejection and Realization a Reality Check

Go deeper with a few suggested books:
1. In His Steps by Charles Sheldon
2. Let Justice Roll Down by John M. Perkins
3. Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton
4. One Blood by John M. Perkins
5. Reconstructing the Gospel by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

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