Our world is changing. Masses of people are picking up their lives and moving into cities. The cities of the world are growing at a rate of 1.6 million a week. When we think of cities, we could think of dirty streets, crowds of people, endless sin, and little to no awareness of God’s presence. Yet, God’s heart is for the cities worldwide. God is using this shift into cities as a way to bring revival, passion, and unity to His children. Will we join Him in what He is doing in cities?
Cities show the diversity of God’s character
Let’s look at Los Angeles as an example of a city. A city of 18.8 million people, Los Angeles is the country’s “leading artistic center”, overtaking New York City. It is also a hub for tech centers and health professionals. “People from more than 140 countries, speaking 224 different identified languages, currently call Los Angeles home.” (DiscoverLA) All in all, LA is one of the most diverse cities out there. Full of culture, artistry, and personality. Isn’t this who our God is? Since we are made in His image, don’t cities show a glimpse of who God is?
Cities give us a unique opportunity to see different facets of God’s character. The urban areas get rid of any cultural barriers and unite us in one way: following the God who created us. These spaces show us that God does not fit in the box we so often put Him in. He is so much more than we could ever think or imagine and the people in cities show us this. These places reveal to us that God pushes past ethnic boundaries, denominations, belief systems, personalities, past lives, brokenness, sexuality, and He meets us where we are at. He reminds us that He created every human being with intention and purpose no matter who they are or how they relate to the world.
Cities remind us that God is a God of diversity and will never fit in the box we try to squeeze Him into. It expands our mind to see God in new and fresh ways. When we experience cities, our hearts start to change because we see that God can reach anyone and everyone with His abounding love. And we see that He is multicultural and multigenerational. He knows no boundaries. This is the beauty cities show us.
Cities reveal to us the beauty and significance of the church
Nothing else shows us our need for churches more than cities. I grew up in the church, so it was normal for me to attend church and go to church camps every summer. It became a mundane task for me. After moving to LA, I was so moved at how much the church plays a role in this city. I started to see the significance of the church and the way our unification or division can either positively or negatively impact our city. My heart started to yearn for Sunday mornings when I would be able to see my family in Christ and be uplifted. Since cities tend to be filled with darkness, tragedy, and sin, the church stands out as a light and example of Christ more than ever.
Cities give us a chance to be “like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14) This is our calling as city dwellers. Be the church and reveal God to the millions of people living in the urban areas around us. As the church, cities show us our immense need for one another. It’s easy to feel the weight of brokenness as we live in cities. We see homeless, crime, sexual sin, and so much hopelessness in cities. However, we gather as the church and scatter to bring hope to the hopeless.
When we gather, we are able to bear one another’s burdens and remind one another of who our Father is. Then, we are sent out as disciples of Christ. To be a light in the midst of darkness. This is what cities show us: the importance and need for the church. Cities challenge us to be unified instead of divided on issues like denomination or politics. In the grand scheme of things, urban areas call the church to be unified and bring the kingdom of heaven to every city worldwide. These spaces show us the beauty and original intent God had for the church. A place of gathering, scattering, healing, miracles, evangelism, and a safe place for millions.
Cities are a vessel to reach the nations
Countless people look to cities for inspiration. New York City, Paris, and Milan are known for fashion. Los Angeles is known for things like music, arts, and more. San Francisco and Seattle are tech hubs. London is a popular travel destination and full of history. What if followers of Christ stood out in cities as wholeheartedly surrendered to God? How would this change our world? People would look to cities and see God’s creativity and character marked all over it. They would see His kindness, miracles, power, and more. What if the world watched the cities in awe as they were ignited for the Gospel?
As disciples, we are told to gather and scatter. Cities are the perfect places to gather and then be sent out as disciple makers. With the amount of diverse individuals that gather in the city, think of how many different types of people we could send out to the nations. Artists who have God’s creative heart, doctors who will pray for healing and see miracles break out, comedians who will bring the Father’s joy to people, preachers who will go to the unreached locations worldwide, musicians who will glorify God in the arts, designers who will reveal God’s character through their creations, writers who will create beautiful works of art that speak of our Creator. When we realize how powerful cities can be, revival will break out. Together, let’s seek God’s heart and pray for our cities. Let’s ask Him what we can do to support cities and the people who live in them.
Do you see cities with God’s perspective?
When you think of cities, what do you think of? Spaces void of God’s presence or opportunities to see revival break out? As the church, let’s ask God how we can support and uphold the cities worldwide. Is He calling you to move to a city? Is He asking you to generously give to a ministry located in the city? Whatever it is, seek His face and seek His heart for our cities. Let’s transform the cities with His presence.