Urban Ministry Chronicles Vol 1, Chapter 2- Why focus on cities?

Many people may not want to admit it, but one of the biggest fears  in considering missions is having to live in a hut in a remote area of the world. It does define living the missionary life for some, but it does not have to be for all. Cathy had voiced this concern when we were evaluating mission fields. A good friend who was a missionary in Hungary said, ' Cathy let me show you my hut.' As he pulled out his laptop and showed her their home in Budapest. A nice humble suburban house in Eastern Europe. It was a key turning point for Cathy, a calming effect on her that we did not have to live in a hut.

When it comes to choosing a mission field. I believe that The Lord directs. When we came to the realisation that Sydney would be our mission home. Many were fascinated, some questioned and a few discouraged us.

'Tough culture & too modern' 'It is the missionaries graveyard' 'Why not go where it is easier and less expensive?' 'Australia: They don't need missionaries!' (97% of the population does not know Christ)

I appreciate people's concerns, but I think the problem was their perspective of missions. For most, it is not in cities or in modern countries. Also, just because it is 'easy' for some, does not mean it is where all should go to minister.

It was not too long ago the push for missions was Eastern Europe, China and then the 10/40 Window. In 2014, boundaries and cultures are blurred.

In the study of urban ministry, I found a great article that was composed from the emails that Tim Svoboda had put forward To his mission organisation. I will add the link below.

A few quotes for consideration:

"East is moving West and South is moving North. Amsterdam is home to 180 nations. The whole former British empire lives in London. Paris is quickly become African and Germany is becoming Turkish while Toronto is becoming Chinese. San Francisco is now 38% Asian."

"Bangalore operates in Urdu, Hindi, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, English and more. The world has moved to the cities. Mission is no longer geographical distant. It is now cultural distant while being located just across the street in our own cities around the world. In the past missions was primarily about going over the ocean, through the jungle, across the desert to reach the remote. Today it is quickly becoming about crossing the street in the cities where we live."

We need to focus on the whole city...

"That means ministry to the powerful and powerless, to the middle class, to the migrants, to the poor, to the business community, neighbourhoods, to the upper class, unreached people groups, the seven spheres of society, the university campus, issues of injustice, mercy ministries, evangelism and all that the city gives us opportunity to serve."

There is so much more to the article, but the primary thrust is in modern missions we are not limited by borders. We need to consider the mix of the city. The opportunities of the city and the challenges of the city.

I think the more people begin to challenge the perspective of missions. The more people would consider doing missions work.

To stress, this is not an anti-rural missions message, but a pro-missions message. Last time I looked at the great commission, the message was to go into the whole world to reach people for Christ. Not just the remote tribes in India or Africa (they need missionaries, too), but to all of the world.

Have you thought of the cities of the world as mission fields?

Push back, I love the discussion.

Thanks for reading,

Russell Matthews