Thursday, October 8, 2015


"And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7 NLT)

Often when we think about the church & the city, we see the two at odds. Church members are often at odds with outsiders in the community & many non-church goers are at odds with the church. The city's interests normally don't reflect the church & vice versa. Rather than the church being a city on a hill in the city, it's more like a dark building outside of the city. Rather than the church working with the city it's in, the church is often working against its city.

But this verse paints a very different picture. This verse links the people of God WITH the city they are living in. The welfare of God's people & their context are undeniably linked. When the city does well, so do the people of God.

God gives his people a blueprint for impacting their context. God tells his exiled people to work for the good of their city, because it will effect them for good as well. So, there is a way for the church of God to work for the welfare of its city.

Here are a couple of ways to do it.

First, we have to work. That's what this verse says. Work. Go do something. Get your hands dirty. Be active. Invest. Plug in. Engage. Be a part. Volunteer. Serve your city! The church too are exiles. We don't belong here. But just because we are citizens of another country doesn't mean we should be poor visitors while we are here. We have to get to work. Investing our lives where we live for the good of our city. It takes work. Don't think it's easy.

Don't reinvent the wheel either. Don't start a food pantry, volunteer at the food pantry in your community. Don't start a crisis pregnancy center, get involved at the one in your city. Maybe you should start a ministry or non-profit but if there are groups already doing great work in your community, why not serve with them?

Second, we have to pray. This may be better as step one. But the passage has it second. Prayer cannot be overemphasized. If we are going to love our city & see its welfare, we must pray for it. We must ask God to change us & use us to change it. We must realize that there are some things that work cannot do. Only prayer can break down some walls. This reminds us that while our city has physical needs that we should be meeting, it also has spiritual needs that we must be actively engaging. For example, it's not enough to serve at Habitat for Humanity & not share the gospel when we have the chance. Because housing for people is good, but houses are temporary. Eternity is forever. We have to work & pray. It's a both/and. Without work, we pray & neglect the obvious things we can be doing for our city now! Without prayer, our work is only physical & lasting change eludes us.

Work AND pray. This is the blueprint for impacting our city for Jesus. 

Are we a church for the city? If not, how can we change? What work can we do? How should we pray!?

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