Engaging Our City Pt. 2
By Jonathan Nason
In part one of engaging our city we talked about the importance of engaging both spiritually and physically, and programmatically and organically. These are emphases that are often unbalanced in churches (i.e. a church focuses on spiritual engagement to the neglect of physical), but we will strive to keep a balance.
However, in part two I want explain briefly the number one thing we mean by engaging our city. The number one idea that we want people to think about when engaging our city is to remember that we do so not to build New Hope, but to see the Kingdom of God advanced.
Don’t misunderstand. I am passionate about the local church. I pastor within the local church. But, I believe that the local church is a byproduct of kingdom advancement, and now a tool for further kingdom advancement.1 The church is to be pictured like an outpost of heaven here on earth. For illustrative purposes, think of it like a military base. A base exists for a reason. Its existence is not the purpose of its existence. It exists to fulfill a greater purpose, or mission, of the country it represents. In the same way, the existence of the local church is not the purpose of its existence. Likewise, it too exists for a purpose, or mission, of the kingdom it represents.
Therefore, when we say we are engaging our city, the purpose is to be used by God to see His Kingdom advanced. As a local body, we believe we exist for a mission; a mission that needs to be fulfilled. We aim to fulfill that mission.
Our mission is far greater than seeing our church grow. We want to see the percentage of lostness decrease in our city. Queens has approximately 2.4 million people. If we desired to see just 1% of Queens come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, then that would mean reaching 24,000 people. This is a God-sized vision, and seems unrealistic. But let me remind us all of the Apostle Paul’s encouragement in Ephesians 3:20-21:
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
God is able to do far greater than any vision a person can create. Let us dream big, trust God more, and live to glorify Him by engaging our city with the love of Jesus one relationship at a time.
1 Jeff Christopherson, Kingdom Matrix: designing a church for the Kingdom of God (Boise, ID: Russell Media, 2012), 43-66.