by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith
Executive Director of EaglesInLeadership.org
Author of “Growing Missional Leaders”
A few days ago I was reading blogs and e-notices about blogs when one passed by quickly. Some guy was holding a seminar on helping our urban centers. As one who has invested over a decade to growing an urban, Hispanic church to health and growth, I believe this is a great mission.
As I thought about what such a seminar would include, I thought of these three keys:
If you are going to make an impact in an urban center, you will need to …
1. Live there.
Jesus is our model here: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, Msg) If we are going to help our urban centers, we have to live and rub shoulders with those people on a daily basis.
2. Love there.
Love is built on trust. Trust is built when we sacrificially help others in need – we give of what we have to help those who do not have. Again, we have urban precedent for this from the Early Church: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. ” (Acts 2:44–45, ESV) If we want to love, we have to be close enough to give when there is need.
3. Lead there.
People follow real leaders – people who posses a walk that matches their talk. My experience tells me that this is truer in the city than anywhere else I have served. “Street sense” locks on like speed trap radar. When you are real, you will be followed. This is essential to accomplish the mission of Jesus: “Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”” (Matthew 4:19, NLT) As we reproduce men and women, we grow the Kingdom of God in the City.
Helping our urban centers will mean moving into them, sacrificing our lives and leading them to Jesus. Will you be the next one to help?