With a slightly better internet connection than before I’m going to attempt to live blog tonight – apologies for any spelling mistakes. Tonight we’re thinking about mega-cities:
- More than 400 cities have a million or more people in them now.
- The urban world expands by 2 people per second.
- 21 mega-cities exits around the world with over 10 million people each
Tim Keller’s speaking on mega-cities, his outline is:
- Why we must
- How we should
- How we can
Why we must Culturally: Cities are incredibly important culturally as more than half the people in the world live in cities. Missiologically: if you want to reach young adults they disproportionally want to live in cities; the most unreached peoples in the world are more reachable in cities when they emigrate from rural areas or other countries they break their ties and are in a more pluralistic society so they’re easier to reach; the people who tend to make films, write books, do business deals are in cities – they impact culture; lastly, and intriguingly, you reach the poor, something like a third of all people moving into cities will be moving into shanty towns. Viscerally: in Jonah 4 he’s unahppy with Nineveh but is emotionally attached to a growing vine, but then it dies and he gets depressed. God makes an argument – you were attached to the vine and not what happens to Nineveh, I love people. Cities have more people per inch then anywhere else. People are moving into the cities faster than the church is moving into the city. How we should We too often move a model of church from rural to urban and vice versa. Instead churches need to be:
- Extremely patient with charges of cultural insensitivity – as they have more cultures involved and more potential criticism. Churches outside of a city don’t have to deal with that conflict.
- Show people how their work links to their faith as they live and work in the same city. Too often we disciple by bringing people into the context of the church and outside of the work place.
- Constantly open to disorder and change.
- Intensely evangelistic and famous for its concern for justice.
- Attentive to the arts.
- Co-operative with other churches and denominations – you’ll never reach the city without partnership.
They’re ideal to happen in all churches but utterly essential in cities. Why we can In Genesis 18 God visits Abraham, I’m going to destroy your neighbouring cities, and Abraham approaches God:
- Pray for an unbelieving city – that’s unique in the Old Testament – he didn’t just ask for Lot to be freed and then blast it – he properly prayed for it.
- He essentially endangered himself, and he knew it, both in terms of approaching God but also in terms of keeping enemies in existence nearby.
- He made a theological case – at what number of righteous people will you save a city – it was like case law with Abraham acting as a High Priest asking if there is a few unrighteous can they save the undeserving majority.
Abraham failed in this, but we have a High Priest who can intercede for us. Abraham risked his life for the unbelievers, Jesus gave his life for the unbelievers. Abraham made the case, but Jesus is the reality of righteousness (2 Cor 5). When he becomes your High Priest you can become the priest that your city so desperately needs. We should pray for them, we should lay our lives out for them, and most of all we should offer them the High Priest sacrifice of Jesus. Why are you not passionate for them? Now a video on congregations ranging from an international church in Kuwait to, a Korean church in London, a congregation of Romanian Christians in Birmingham. Some fantastic stories of life changing encounters in this video. People on the move are great for the gospel for either the city they stay in or the places they move back or onto. 2000 years ago the Roman Empire enabled major openings for the gospel, today that’s still the case including ocean liners to share the gospel with seafarers. Sadiri Joy Tira from Canada now up on stage. There are now 200 million people who are migrants, and this will double in the next 10 years. The Diaspora people are coming to our doorsteps, we just need to open our eyes and homes to these people. At no other time as there been such an opportunities for the church to open its door to the diaspora people. We’re witnessing big numbers of diaspora churches – reaching out to their peoples but also preaching the gospel to their host nation. The message is very clear: we can’t ignore the people on the move, we must evangelize, disciple and mobilize the diaspora to share the whole gospel with the whole world – this is doing the Great Commission. Transitioning into our Window of the World, tonight we’re looking at Latin America and the Caribbean. Here’s some key highlights:
- From 1950-1990 the Pentecostal movement saw huge growth – it is the second biggest denomination after Catholicism.
- Pentecostal church makes up 75% of evangelicals.
- Emphasis on oral story, prayers, singing and dancing.
- 84% of Carribean people profess to be Christians (14% decline in last 100 years – mainly down to Cuba)
Juan Pablo Bongartra (Argentina) shares on development in Buenos Aires through increasing unity between the churches. Now implementing a plan to:
- Shepherd the City – a brother or sister is now in charge of each of the 12,000 blocks in the city – to develop a personal relationship and prayer – at the moment in over 6,000 blocks!
- Sharing God’s Word – just distributed over 100,000 flyers and lots of road-signs.
It’s not an issue for individual churches as the church is united and not competing with each other but looking to help one another to see the Kingdom of God grow. Now some missionaries are being sent by the church of the city, not an individual church or denomination. We need to be one. Now Joan Purcell from Grenada who is sharing her testimony of John 3:16 becoming alive and real but then didn’t carry it forward. She made a second commitment in December 1977, her baptism made her look like a freak and failure to be obedient in baptism and fellowship. With lots of ups and downs but God has been faithful. She was called into politics to act as salt and light in her nation – causing a furore in evangelical world losing a number of friends in the process. Being a Christian politician is hard, but she knows she was placed in her role for specific reasons such as deciding the judgment on those who killed some key politicians in 1983 – she managed to influence the decision towards prison sentences – now seeing some of those prisoners come to faith, and one is a Methodist lay preacher.
Now a video on Latin America with an amazing statistic: a person aged 17-25 is seventy times more likely to be murdered in Latin America than in the UK! Followed by a reading of a poem, possibly in Spanish (apologies my language knowledge is very limited).
Samuel Escobar (Peru) and Rene Padilla (Argentina) are giving us a great history lesson. The start is 1966 in Berlin hearing Michael Cassidy sharing on obstacles to Evangelism, and John Stott speaking on the Great Commission in the gospel of John. Onto regional congresses, including November 1969 in Columbia, this was very significant as they’d been thinking on the social responsibility of the church. It was a wonderful opportunity to express something that mattered to those who were at the session, people realised it was a real concern for those in Latin America. There was a conference 1 year later to develop their thinking on this, which led to the Latin America Theological Fraternity (LATF).
1974 was Lausanne and Samuel was involved in drafting the covenant and all the difficulties of this. From this came some working groups looking at how the theology could be lived out – evangelism and social responsibility – emphasising the need for holistic mission or integral mission – combining all that the church is supposed to be about. During January 1974 John Stott travelled throughout Latin America, discussing some of the key issues that would come up in the covenant, and those meetings influenced Stott’s views. The LATF has done a lot to encourage discussion through publications and visits from other theologians.
Renee on what should happen in Lausanne III
- The question of discipleship: Jesus didn’t just want us to make converts, but to see life style changed.
- Globalisation: need to see an economic system changed – it effects the poor.
- The destruction of the eco system – if things continue as they do now who knows what will happen for our children.
Samuel shares that they’re hoping to have in 2012 the fifth Latin American conference on Evangelisation and excited as he now lives in Spain and sees the increasing influence that Latin America has on world theology and that missionaries from Latin America are now all over the world.
Time for some worship – Tenemos Esperanza (We have hope) – the stage is full of the colour of Latin America – wonderful!
Rene Padilla closes us with a blessing.
I’m signing off from tonight, see you again on Friday – do comment below with your favourite quote or thought.