We believe that the table in a city is where civic leaders, cultural influencers, the Church, and marketplace leaders sit down together to rediscover God’s plan for the city, to re-unify toward the goal of becoming “one in Christ” and to rebuild the city together.
One of the seats at the table is reserved for cultural influencers. The people of God can and should engage the culture. The cultural influencers are the ones who understand the times we live in. They can interpret the cry of the city at its point of pain, and can contexualize the Gospel in the culture. The truth about city transformation is that transformation does not happen until the culture responds.
Until all the spheres of society are fully engaged, the work of city transformation has not fully begun. Culture is a reflection of the spheres of our society. These spheres are business and economics, law and government, science and technology, art and entertainment, media and communications, education, the family, and the Church.
The goal of cultural renewal is to make available and possible what we all believed was available and possible the first time we opened our eyes. We were born with hope, even before we knew what hope was. We believed there was a world of love and creative possibility in which we had a role to play. And such a world would only come into existence if there was a cultural environment adequate to recognize us, care for us, and bestow dignity on us.
Cultivating and curating the culture of your city is a part of city transformation. This is needed so that human flourishing can thrive. Culture is the umbrella under which we implement synergistic strategies to bring the benefaction of God into our collective experience on earth.
Many things have happened in our world to rupture that hope. True cultural renewal would repair the shared conditions of our common life so that the hope of flourishing, felt instinctively by every human, could be fulfilled. Here are 5 ways we can improve our core competency in the work of engaging the culture in your city.
Be a learner – God loves culture, so we should learn about the culture. A learner postures him/herself in humility to explore and ask questions, engaging the culture to better understand the systemic issues that exist.
Be a servant – as we begin to understand the needs and the pain in our city, we mobilize ourselves to serve. Jesus came to be a servant to all. The work of transformation asks us to broker hope for all of God’s creation.
Be an intercessor – Nothing changes things like prayer. As we discover the needs of society and enter in to the pain of our city, we allow our hearts to break for the things that break the heart of our Father.
Be a storyteller – Listen to the story that begins to emerge and then tell it to others. Nothing inspires change more than the stories of transformers working to broker hope in the city. Tell the story of God’s dream for His creation and how we are invited to co- create with the Father in healing our world.
Be a friend – Jesus said that He calls us His friend, and culture needs a friend who knows the Father’s heart. For far too long, God’s people have missed the invitation in John 15:15 to restore His creation. Friendship is a precious gift, and it levels the ground in our work of transformation.
As you reflect on the current culture of your city, we would like to hear your thoughts concerning that culture and how it inspires – or perhaps discourages – hope, human flourishing, and benefaction in your city.
God is equipping the family of God to build where they are planted. Jesus, our architect, the only one with the eternal blueprint, and He is deploying His people on the broken walls of our cities. Let us hear together Nehemiah’s declaration to “arise and build.”