Archive for the tag “Gospel”

A hope-filled future for our cities

In the latest episode of our God’s Revolution podcast, we’re talking with Glenn Barth, president and CEO of Good Cities, about how we can help cities experience a future filled with hope.

Good Cities is a community development initiative that advances the gospel of the Kingdom by working with local leaders toward the common good of the city. The mission of Good Cities is to discover, support, and serve vibrant city movements by building processes that create good cities.

Our good friend Reggie McNeal works alongside Glenn in helping community leaders discover the power and collective impact of collaboration. Using the Good City tools, church leaders can help their communities experience God’s common grace in the redemptive features a city has to offer, which in turn leads to the opportunity for people to experience God’s salvation and a future filled with hope.

To listen to the episode, click here.

Russell Moore: When Jesus’ priorities become our priorities

When you work for justice, and when you do it with the Gospel at the center, you’re following in the way of Christ, Russell Moore told college students at the NAE‘s Christian Student Leadership Conference this past week.

Click image to watch the video

Click image to watch the video

When Jesus’ priorities to become our priorities, believers “start caring about what it takes to cause the people around us to flourish, what it means for them to live in ways in which they are blessed rather than cursed,” Moore said.

That’s the reason why we care about the unborn when the rest of the world would want to dehumanize them by speaking of them simply as zygotes and embryos and fetuses and unplanned pregnancies. That’s the reason why we care about people who are suffering with AIDS and with other diseases. That’s why we care about women who are being trafficked. That’s why we care about immigrant communities that are suffering. That’s why we care about people who are in prison.

Some Christians worry that focusing on justice will detract from either the Gospel or mission of Jesus, and that’s a legitimate concern “because there are all sorts of people who would rather think about the common good than the Gospel,” Moore said. But “the mission of Jesus is the extension of the life of Jesus,” he said.

Jesus preaches the kingdom of God, never backs down from preaching the Gospel with Himself as the center of it. And as He does that, Jesus listens to the cries of those who are vulnerable around Him in order to work toward well-being and the common good. He preaches. He heals. He casts out demons. He feeds. He listens. He touches. He loves.

When we respond to the cries of the unborn, when we welcome the orphan, when we hold the diseased, when we in our own churches first signify to the rest of the world that no one is without value, no one is without dignity, no one is without worth, all we’re doing is by the power of the Holy Spirit being conformed into the image of Jesus so that His priorities are our priorities, His mission is our mission, and His future is our future.

Read the full text of this excellent article by Tom Strode by clicking here.

At-risk children central to church’s Gospel task

city lifeTobin Perry writes at Baptist Press about City Life Church in Wichita, Kansas, which pursues a vision of seeing the gospel “transform everything — ourselves, our church, our city and the world.”

… It begins in Wichita, where more than 600,000 people live in the metro area. [The church’s website says] “We believe church-planting can reach the darkest corners of our city for Christ. City Life is committed to … send out gospel-driven, city-focused people to declare and demonstrate the gospel to the people of our city.”

At-risk children are a key part of that commitment, with at least 50 City Life members involved in various aspects of outreach to families in crisis; 15 families are either licensed for foster care or in the process of being licensed.

Whether bringing children from troubled families into their homes or mentoring broken families toward healing, church planter Casey Casamento acknowledged it’s tough and often messy work.

Some parents want little to do with mentoring. Others struggle to make changes that will lead to their children’s return.

“We care for their children, but we also share the love of Christ with their families and extended families,” Casamento said. Referencing a 19-year-old man whose child was put into the care of a church family, Casamento said both the man and his mother now attend City Life Church.

“Ultimately, we do this for the sake of the Gospel,” said Casamento, a Wichita native. “We exist to bring glory to God and for the good of our city.”

Casamento started City Life Church in 2011 after 12 years in youth ministry, the last six in Wichita. His involvement in local community groups opened his eyes to the city’s physical and spiritual needs.

“I didn’t know what that burden meant back then, but I just knew that I had a huge burden for Wichita,” Casamento said. “So when I felt led to plant a church, I knew that it was in this city.”

Wichita, which has grown by nearly 12 percent since 2000, isn’t hostile to the Gospel. But with more than half of the residents uninvolved in any religious group, Casamento sees a high level of spiritual apathy.

“We have to go to them and build relationships with people in the city,” he said. “It takes time to reach someone for Christ. They need to trust you and see that you love them.”

In planting the church, Casamento developed a core team with weekly vision meetings and Bible studies. City Life now averages between 400 and 500 in attendance and has baptized 100 in two years.

The church now meets in the historic Orpheum Theater in downtown Wichita. Casamento believes the iconic location has been a draw for people who wouldn’t normally attend church. But the church’s main focus isn’t where it meets but mobilizing members to become missionaries where they live.

“Our vision is for those in our church to understand that we have the Gospel and now we have a responsibility to carry that Gospel out into our city — to exemplify the Gospel through good deeds, to be — as it says in Matthew 6 – ‘a city on the hill,'” Casamento said. “But it’s also to communicate the Gospel, to know that God is leading us and calling us to present His good news to everyone.”

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Read the full text of this article by clicking here.

Learn how to help neglected neighbors, communities and children through the North American Mission Board by clicking here.

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