It’s kind of neat that The Met’s current sermon series is all about “Hope for the City”, and how to minister to/in the City, just when we have changed cities.
The sermon we heard yesterday, from Pastor Jeff (the Young Adult pastor), was actually the same thing that Paul (at our old church) preached years ago–but it was still good. In fact, he laid it out in nicely ordered points, under the title “A Church for the City”.
First of all, we want to be a church FOR the city versus a church IN the city, who is just “there” and very inward focussed, not going anywhere; or versus a church AGAINST the city, who takes the “us and them” posture (what comes to my mind is people being upset about messy street youth coming in and causing harm to the building); and finally, you don’t want to be a church that is OF the city, who wants so desparately to be liked that they end up compromising truth and becoming really no different from the city, being therefore unable to help them.
So there are 4 ways to be FOR the city, as in Jeremiah 29:1-7 :
- Be connected to the city (v. 5); which involves developing a relationship with the city–incarnational ministry as exemplified by God, who “became flesh and dwelt among us”.
- Be growing with the city (v. 6)–normal, multiplying kind of life, marrying and having kids [or simply enjoying those marriages and kids].
- Be a blessing to the city (v. 7a), by helping, having compassion, contributing time & money, and doing whatever it takes to bring peace (we are to be agents of reconciliation).
- Pray for the city (v. 7b)–for its well-being [not just in dire situations… btw square brackets always mean my own thoughts, not coming from the pastor.]
The first point seems to include all the other ones really… the pastor talked about ways to be connected: eat (3 meals a day means that many opportunities to enjoy people and get to know them), play (sports, hobbies, etc., are great ways to connect), and just BE (be yourself, don’t fake it out of guilt). Don’t you just love a sermon that tells you to enjoy eating? :D