In our Urban Mission of the Church course at Golden Gate today, we began the day with Larry Acosta (free talks here) and Bobby Duran (a.k.a. DJ Bobbito who works with Odd Thomas) with the Urban Youth Workers Institute. These guys are doing amazing things as they invest in urban youth workers across the U.S.. If you have never been to UYWI, check it out in May 2008. It’s incredible!
Poverty is suburbanizing. Gentrification changes the face of the city. High end lofts are moving into the city and moving the urban poor into the suburbs. Urban ministries are having to decide whether to move or to begin satellites or to advocate for affordable housing in these urban areas (gentrification with justice).
Redeem a theology of neighbor. With commuting taking up so much time in our lives, we have forgotten about the needs of those right outside our doors. The church too often has lost its theology of community. We need to emphasize relationships more than programs.
Think Kingdom rather than kingdom. What God is doing around the world needs to be more important than just what He is doing with our own ministries.
Recapture the theology of the priesthood of all believers. Move towards recruiting and empowering a diverse community of servant leaders. See I Peter 2:4-12. Move towards decentralization and create innovative ways to do church without walls (in downtown with the homeless, at a public junior high school, at a backyard bbq, in an apartment complex courtyard, etc.).
Live lives of integrity. Find someone with whom you can “dump your junk.” We cannot serve in the city on our own. We need to live in a way that shows those we serve how real God can be in transforming our lives. Never do in private what I wouldn’t be willing to do if my wife and kids were with me. How we live our lives matters!