Thursday, January 22, 2009

are you ready to own lostness and injustice in your city?

I am borrowing a line from my church planting friend and brother, Jay Hardwick, "...ready to own lostness and injustice in our city." Jay sent me a brief update on their progress with their church planting initiative Awaken Columbia via my facebook wall. Jay is planting an urban church in the city of Columbia, S.C. He was referring to a movement he, and others serving with him, are stirring up amongst people living in Columbia to not only see lostness and injustice, but do something about it.

I have never been to Columbia, but I am guessing that it is much like any other city dotting the map of the USA. There is an inner-city culture there with a landscape similar to my own, filled with urban blight, poverty, drugs and street gangs, violent street crimes, high rates of teen/unwed mothers, prostitution, juvinile delinquency, homelessness, etc. There is also a growing epidemic of hopelessness and dispair amongst a generation that does not see church and traditional, Biblical Christianity as relevant or useful in their lives, yet they know lostness and injustice first hand.

Much like my own city, I'm sure Columbia has seen its own share of local churches (perhaps even whole denominations) abandoning their inner-city neighborhoods for the greener pastures of the middle-class suburbs. Equally lacking is a desire among church planters and seminary grads to move into these inner-city neighborhoods for the sole purpose of living out the great commandment and the great commission. There has been a lot of talk over the past decade about what it means to be missional and incarnational. Guys like Jay Hardwick (and hopefully myself) are taking the God given task head (and hands) on. Praise God that a few church planters and mission boards are seeing the need and feeling the burden to go to these places that God has not forgotten nor abandoned, to bring a message of love and hope to people whom God loves.

It is my prayer that God will raise up an army, here in New York's capital region, as well as in Columbia and other cities across the US and around the world, who will take ownership of the "lostness and injustice" that exists there, and will stop at nothing to see God move amongst these people.

Are you ready to own lostness and injustice in your city?