A Church of the CityToday’s blog entry is by guest blogger Dr. Parnell Lovelace.

Jesus’ Great Commission demands a deliberate response from those who take the call to reach the people of the city seriously. Cities across America are experiencing a great resurgence and redevelopment of their urban spaces.

Sacramento, California, provides a prime example of continuous urban evolution. Over the past decade, more than one billion dollars in public and private investments have been made in downtown Sacramento. Further urban redevelopment plans outline the building of lofts, restaurants, a new sports arena complex, and expanded public transportation.

What does this expansion mean for the church? The kingdom-minded leader will view urban expansion as an opportunity to connect with those who are returning to or venturing for the first time into the once-abandoned urban spaces, but also as an opportunity to connect and work with the city leaders who are planning and facilitating the anticipated growth.

To foster these types of opportunities, pastors and their ministry teams have several options. They could attend local city council meetings, schedule introductory meetings with various municipal personnel, or invite the mayor and law enforcement leadership to attend a worship service.

Various community leadership and outreach programs seek to build relationships with those in the faith-based community and would likely be receptive to any offers of help. Pastors could join local boards and committees that facilitate the development of various city initiatives. These types of deliberate collaboration help to fulfill the church’s role as “light” and “salt” in the world. The presence of Christ’s church should contribute to the flourishing of our cities, thus extending the church’s influence regionally and beyond.

True influence cannot be measured by the number of slick brochures, crisp websites, or trendy outreach programs. The real impact will be made through the church’s willingness to make fewer assumptions about the inhabitants of the city and to reach out to them and to their leaders in a Christ-centered, authentic way.

Reflection for the Day: What steps can I take today to personally connect with leaders of my city?

Parnell M. Lovelace, Jr., MSW, D.Min.
Lovelace Leadership Connection
Rancho Cordova, California

As the successful founding pastor of 3000 member Center of Praise Ministries, Sacramento, California, Parnell M Lovelace, Jr. serves as an apostolic strategist, merging the Church with the social constructs of urban community. He holds a MSW, University of Oklahoma; MPTH Oral Roberts University, and D.Min., Talbot School of Theology.