Keys to Transformation

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Keys to Transformation
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In all the cities where the church has seen a significant transforming of the community, a number of factors are observed:

  • A New Paradigm of the Church
  • Urgent and Persistent Prayer
  • United Prayer
  • Informed Intercession
  • Humility and Compassion

Urgent and Persistent Prayer

  • When we get to a point of great need, and know that our efforts have failed and our prayer is fuelled by desperation for God to act, it seems that He is much more likely to answer.
  • Our right relationship with God is one of total dependence, but our affluent lives seldom bring us to the place of desperation for God. We have seen a beginning of this since September 11th

United Prayer

  • Christians recognising Jesus' call to unity are coming together to pray.
  • The prayer of individuals and separate congregations is of value, but the authority of the Church to pray God's blessing upon a whole community is released when we act in obedience to His call to be One.

Informed Intercession

  • The faith to pray is stirred by seeing God's faithfulness and power as He answers. General prayers of blessing upon a city may be of some value, but specific prayer for God to intervene in certain identified needs allows the answers to prayer to be seen. This is a challenge to faith (what if He doesn't answer?) but brings prayer and faith to bear on the real issues.
  • Researching a local community to discover the social, physical and spiritual needs and barriers and using this information for focused prayer has been a common factor in the communities that have seen transformation.
  • An example would be asking the local Mayor and council and the local police what issues they consider urgent problems in the community. Telling them that the Church will pray for God to intervene in these areas. Then going back a week or month later and asking what is happening in those areas.

Humility and Compassion

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and seek my face and pray and turn from their wicked ways, Then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sins and heal their land" 2 Chronicles 7:14


Quotes from those at the frontline

Katy, Texas

"The growing "city transformation" movement that is seeing leaders put aside their differences to work together in new ways to impact their cities for God.

"We have chosen to put many of the things that are near and dear to us personally aside so that we can come together as brothers and sisters who have a common calling, which is the spiritual welfare of this community," said Charles Wisdom, senior pastor of First Baptist Church and recently designated "elder" of the Church of Katy. Going beyond traditional ministerial fellowships, the "city transformation" movement is bringing pastors together to pray, plan and work beyond the scope of their own walls. Around 25 leaders from local churches meet together each week in Katy. "There's a deep love and commitment to one another," Wisdom said. "We really want to see the other guy flourish and his church do well." That spirit of cooperation is replacing the previous "competition and turf protection," he said.

Jack Dennison, Citireach Movement USA

Whereas previous attempts at building unity centred on events--after which participating churches usually went back to doing their own thing--the new moves were being based in relationships. "The Scriptures tell us that there is a spiritual power that is released in the midst of unity," Dennison said. "There's a great spiritual effectiveness when the body of Christ is linked together and functioning as a healthy body--in all its diversity and heritage--than when it functions in a dismembered way."

Congregations that are part of a "city church" can maximise their resources and avoid duplication of effort, instead of competing for "dollars, territory, people," said Jon Sharpe, who heads Reach Seattle, the group coordinating citywide efforts there. Next month they start City Discovery Tours that will take congregational groups on visits to urban ministries to get a better feel for the parts of their city that they don't routinely visit.

Jim Herrington, Mission Houston

"We believe that God has a strategy for the transformation of the city, and that He will only reveal it when there's real, substantive unity that is based in relationships. It's not about cooperating once on a project. It's a whole new way of life for the church."

Dennison

Dennison said that initiatives like those in Houston and Seattle were rediscovering a Bible truth. "In our isolation we have lost our capacity to affect real change [in society] because each group and individual is living much like Israel did at the time of the judges, with each one doing what is right in his own eyes," he said. "But when you look at the New Testament, you see that the church in a city was seen as one church in many congregations."

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 June 2006 08:37

 

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