It takes a movement to reach a city

One of the decisive convictions of City to City Australia is the belief that it takes a movement to reach a city — and ultimately a society — with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

According to Tim Keller, “Reaching an entire city … takes more than having some effective churches in it, or even having a burst of revival energy and new converts”. Anything less merely leads to the reconfiguration of Christianity in a city — people drawn out of less vital churches into those that currently seem to be thriving.

In a movement, by contrast, the energy and momentum isn’t confined to one particularly vibrant stream of Christianity in the city. Our shared trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom everything holds together and through whom God is putting this broken world back together, spills over the boundaries of tradition and tribe.

This is why it was so exciting to be part of the Gospel in the City event in Melbourne on November 2 this year.

It was a wet afternoon in Prahran. But it was the warmth of shared joy and sense of common task that was evident as we heard from planters and church leaders from a range of different networks and denominations:

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Jamie and Claire Bester (Southern Beaches Anglican Church, Hobart) spoke about their experience of the City to City assessment process, which has been instrumental in shaping their approach to launching Southern Beaches earlier this year.

Shebu John (Canterbury Gardens Community Church, Kilsyth South) gave us a report on the City to City International Intensive in New York City last year. His ministry leadership received a significant boost from the energy, input and connection with a network of dedicated planters and leaders from around the globe.

Stephen Tan (Regeneration Church, Monash) shared about the insight and support he’s been receiving from one of City to City Australia’s trained coaches. Stephen’s coach has walked alongside him through the pre-launch and launch phase of his plant, proving invaluable as a sounding board, source of wisdom, and ministry partner.

 (L-R) Shebu John, Stephen Tan, Aaron Boyd, Pete Greenwood

(L-R) Shebu John, Stephen Tan, Aaron Boyd, Pete Greenwood

Aaron Boyd (Darebin Presbyterian Church, Thornbury) filled us in on the lasting impact his participation in the City to City Incubator has made on his life and ministry. Specifically, Aaron identified the way the Incubator inspired and equipped him with the practical tools to lead his church in contextual mission.

And Pete Greenwood (Inner West Anglican Church, Kensington) addressed the ’sanctified pain’ of receiving and repaying a City Renewal Fund loan, which both helps get new churches started and enables them to be investing in further church planting from their very inception.

Andrew Katay, CEO of City to City Australia, framed the afternoon in terms of the decisive convictions, vision and strategy of City to City Australia.

Aided by coffee and doughnuts, the robust and lively discussion that ensued — as well as the new connections forged across the lines of tradition and affiliation — gave us a taste of exactly the kind of movement City to City is praying and working to see in Australia’s cities.

Chris Swann
Director of Training