BLOG

#FridayReads: "Loving the City" By Tim Keller

July 25, 2016

Dr. Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He and his wife, Kathy, have grown the church to over 5,000 in weekly attendance.  Dr. Keller also is Chairman of Redeemer City to City which helps launch new churches, and he has written over 20 books. Two of his books have been on the New York Times best sellers list and have sold more than 1 million copies. His heart for cities shines through in his book Loving the City: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City.

In this book, Keller writes about how we can communicate to the current culture in a way that is both respectful and challenging. He shows how vital cities are by displaying them as a theme throughout the Bible. Whether or not your ministry is in a city, you will need to think about the city when creating a theological vision that engages the people you are trying to reach. This book will help you to minister to your culture, wherever you are.

Read More

MDGC Speaker Profile: Javier Garcia

July 25, 2016

Each year, Movement Day features speakers who come to educate, inspire, challenge, and encourage city leaders. Learn more about the world-renowned speakers, topic experts and practitioners scheduled to share about global issues and key urban population groups at Movement Day Global Cities 2016.

This month, we caught up with Javier Garcia, Director of Agape Europe, the Western European branch of Campus Crusade For Christ International. He has partnered with organizations like Athletes in Action, Family Life Ministry, and the Executives Ministry (Synesis) and has spent time in high school and campus ministry.  Javier currently resides in Barcelona, Spain where he works to advance gospel movement in a way that is mission oriented and relevant to his community.
 
Q: You have served as the National Director of Agape Spain for 18 years. Would you be willing to share with us a little bit about what that role entails?
My role as Agape Spain National Director was to lead the organization towards the fulfilment of its mission and objectives. Agape is an entity that works with full time staff, and volunteers, to fulfill the mission of making Jesus known in our cities and our whole country.
 
Q: How would you describe the current gospel landscape of Spain?
We live in an increasingly secularized society where faith is experienced in a space that is removed from traditional institutions. However, statistics also tell us that the number of believers living within our communities has not decreased. These realities seem to indicate that we are in the midst of a paradigm change in which faith is lived and expressed differently than it has been before.
 
Spain has recently found itself facing challenges that result from serious inequality within our society. This reality of inequality has the largest impact on our youth. This is creating a strong sense of instability amongst our youth, who are grappling with insecurity and fear for their future.
 
Q: What urban issues are the people of Spain facing on a daily basis?
As with any other European city, the daily life of Spanish cities is impacted by all issues related to the process of globalization. How do we continue to become and be a multicultural, multireligious and multiethnic society and contend with all the challenges that accompany this process?

 
Additional challenges facing the people of Spain include the economic and social inequality that I have already referenced which often gives rise to street demonstrations and protests. In many instances, corruption and lack of ethics have given rise to a sense of indignation in Spanish society.
 
Poverty used to be something to be seen from afar, but this reality is now affecting a growing number of families. These challenges are compounded by the scarce influence of an evangelical minority within Spain, and the lost of credibility of the institutional church. This has resulted in the emergence of a sort of vacuum in which people are looking for answers that never seem to come.
 
Q: Your role sees you involved in a number of ministry opportunities that bring you into the fields of medicine, business, publishing, evangelism, and ecumenical dialogue. Would you mind sharing a little bit about these ministries and the gospel movement that you are witnessing within these various spheres?
Globalization is accompanied by a growing tendency to look for security in the life of communities with which you feel you can identify. These communities may be in the form of ethnic groups or may relate to a profession or a common interest (sports, music, nature etc.). These various communities may be opportunities through which to connect with the different identities of those by whom I am surrounded, and provide the means to establish a dialogue about their interests. It is for this reason that I approach the city in the awareness of the different fields and spheres within which communication bridges need to be established as opportunities to influence with the message of Jesus.
 
Q: How can the broader Movement Day community support those working to bring about gospel movement in Spain?
I believe it is crucial that new movements rise to inspire and conflate the different Christian resources and capacities existing in the cities. Unfortunately, the lack of communication between Christian communities, and the resources currently available, are limiting our effectiveness and possibility of relevance with our message in the cities in which we live. Movement Day can contribute not only to build awareness of this need, but also to launch strategies that could favor such an important collaboration.
 
Q: What are you most looking forward to for Movement Day Global Cities 2016?
There is no doubt that cities serve as our present reality and also as our future. Christians living in cities should be capable to react and understand the needs and challenges therein. What I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others — to understand and connect with them. We are all called to fulfill our mission in this world; that mission includes cities  – and I’m the first one who needs to learn how to do it.
 
Q: What do you hope to share with leaders at Movement Day Global Cities (MDGC) this fall?
I will focus on how important it is to understand the times in which we are living – how important it is to discover the challenges and opportunities they offer us – in order to have a more relevant mission in our cities. I will use the plenary session time to go deeper into this matter.

Read More

#FridayReads: “Finding God in the City: Making Sense of the Urban World” By Brad Stanley

July 13, 2016
Brad Stanley has served as a full time missionary for the last 28 years, as the director of Youth with a Mission, Chicago (YWAM). His time at YWAM has taken him to more than 20 nations in the last 20 years, including living and working in the immigrant communities of Chicago IL. He teaches on the impact that Global Urbanization is having on the modern missions movement, he speaks regularly in churches and missionstraining schools, and has authored the book, Finding God in the City: Making Sense of the Urban World.

In his book, Stanley shares his God-given insight into the importance of the city and its inhabitants, and the role that the church should play in reaching cities worldwide for Christ. Having dedicated many years to the city of Chicago, Stanley is able to share his experiences and gives a fresh approach to urban missions. So how does God feel about the city, and how should we respond to the 21st century being known as the century of global urbanization? Read Stanley’s book to find out more.
Read More

#FridayReads: "Finding God in the City: Making Sense of the Urban World" By Brad Stanley

July 13, 2016
Brad Stanley has served as a full time missionary for the last 28 years, as the director of Youth with a Mission, Chicago (YWAM). His time at YWAM has taken him to more than 20 nations in the last 20 years, including living and working in the immigrant communities of Chicago IL. He teaches on the impact that Global Urbanization is having on the modern missions movement, he speaks regularly in churches and missionstraining schools, and has authored the book, Finding God in the City: Making Sense of the Urban World.

In his book, Stanley shares his God-given insight into the importance of the city and its inhabitants, and the role that the church should play in reaching cities worldwide for Christ. Having dedicated many years to the city of Chicago, Stanley is able to share his experiences and gives a fresh approach to urban missions. So how does God feel about the city, and how should we respond to the 21st century being known as the century of global urbanization? Read Stanley’s book to find out more.
Read More

DALLAS, 9/11, AND THE CHURCH

July 11, 2016

By Dr. Mac Pier
CEO – The NYC Leadership Center
Founder – Movement Day
Senior Associate of Cities – The Lausanne Movement

July 2016

Prayers are being poured out today, July 8, as people are trying to understand the horrific events in Dallas. I am writing this blog from the Queens, New York County Courthouse jury selection room. It is providing me time to think about the journeys of these two very different cities—Dallas and New York City, which have found themselves in great moments of crisis.

The murder of five Dallas policemen in the aftermath of high profile deaths of two African-American men this week have put American cities on edge. Our prayer is that U.S. cities will not be more deeply plunged into violence across racial lines.

On 9/11 I was on the 15th floor of the Empire State Building when the World Trade Center was struck by two airplanes. It was devastating. The loss of 3,000 lives including hundreds of New York Police Department and New York Fire Department personnel will never be forgotten.

As a city and a nation we were unnerved. Just as many are unnerved by the violence in Dallas, TX this week.

In the midst of the chaos there is an opportunity for the church to be the church. Unity is not just a spiritual aspiration, it is an urgent and strategic necessity for the Body of Christ.

After 9/11 we saw the magnificence of the church; caring for the families of those killed in the tragedy, serving meals, providing counseling, and providing a place of refuge for the suffering. We saw agencies like World Vision rally the philanthropic community to give $6 million to assist victims of 9/11 through the church.

Out of the ashes of 9/11 God did remarkable things in New York City (NYC). We saw evangelical Christianity grow in Manhattan. Stimulated by concern for NYC after 9/11, our organization (The New York City Leadership Center) collaborated with Redeemer City to City to catalyze church planting efforts.

The Dallas/Fort Worth area is a region of magnificent churches, agencies, and networks. I have been to Dallas every month for the past five years. I have witnessed Dallas as the “Antioch of America” with its great missionary impulse. Mayor Michael Rawlings is a magnificent leader. His heart for the whole city and every racial strata is remarkable. He is a great champion for the churches to impact the city.

Like every American city, Dallas has its racial fault lines. Fortunately some of the great churches in America are the African-American churches in the Southern Sector of Dallas – including Concord Baptist Church, Oak Cliff Bible Church, Inspiring Body of Christ Church, and The Potter’s House. Those fault lines have begun to be crossed by nearly 100 pastoral leaders including Bryan Carter, Jeff Warren, Vincent Parker, and Mark Davis. In April 2016, twenty churches exchanged pulpits across racial lines. This is giving evidence to the truth that we can only love that which we know.

Networks like Movement Day Greater Dallas and Unite Greater Dallas play a crucial role in connecting leaders and churches to each other. The more physically present Christian leaders are to each other, the more present God becomes to the city.

Let us within our cities, across races and across our cities, come together. The world is watching. Are we ready to lead?

Read More

Speaker Profile: Vandana Kripalani

June 29, 2016

Each year, Movement Day features speakers who come to educate, inspire, challenge, and encourage city leaders. Learn more about the world-renowned speakers, topic experts and practitioners that are scheduled to share about global issues and key urban population groups at Movement Day Global Cities 2016.

This May, we took some time to speak with MDGC 2016 speaker Vandana Kripalani, an advocate of the Set Beautiful Free movement in Mumbai India. Committed to end violence against women, Vandana has participated in several United Nations conferences and has spoken before Senators in the U.S. Congress to bring awareness to this issue. As an engaged member of her community, she serves on the boards and committees of several organizations, which include Seams for Dreams, Terry Fox India, and the Gender Equality committee for First Rand Bank and SILA Corp.

Q: You’ve devoted your life to advocate against human trafficking. What led you on this journey?

I grew up in Bombay, which is Mumbai. But when you are born in Bombay, you call it Bombay. I was born here and I was very privileged to have a wonderful family who supported me through everything, so I was quite protected growing up. I went to a good school, and then college in the US. My parents were very clear to expose me to the harsh realities of what it’s like to grow up as a young woman in India.

However I never actually realized what so many millions of women have to go through until I myself came face-to-face with a man who wanted to kill me and hurt me. But it was just God’s grace and his mercy that allowed me to escape completely unharmed, with just scratches on my arm and nothing else.

Before that, I worked with Ernst & Young and I was very, very passionate about marketing so I’d started my own consultancy. But after this incident in 2012 there were so many things happening around me in India that I became more aware of – such as the Nirbhaya tragedy, which involved a young girl who was raped on a bus in Delhi by six men. This was just around the same time frame.

I realized I couldn’t go back to product marketing anymore. I felt that I may have escaped, but there are about 16 million women who are victims of sex trafficking in India, and so I just decided to try my hand at this. I started off as a volunteer. But here I am three-and-a-half years later, with this on my heart — I don’t think I’m going anywhere from this cause.

Q: You have devoted your life to the battle against human trafficking, specifically as part of the organization Set Beautiful Free. Can tell us a bit about what the organization does and even if there are specific steps that the organization is taking toward the fostering of unity?

Set Beautiful Free is actually an initiative of Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC). And Bombay Teen Challenge began about 25 years ago by an incredible man, Mr. Devaraj, who felt God calling him into this work. When he moved to India, he realized the need as he walked around and he saw that the children of sex workers were living under the beds of the women while they worked. He always describes one of the first few times he walked around the area and one little girl clung to his leg begging him to rescue her so she didn’t die there. And so his first need was to rescue the children. As that grew, BTC was able to go and rescue the mothers, and there’s been generations rescued over the past 25 years.

Set Beautiful Free is involved with rescuing, but we also have a very large rehabilitation center outside of Mumbai. We have a vocational unit for women who’ve been rescued to teach them jewelry making or tailoring skills. We have held clinics in the red light area so that we can reach out to women while they’re still working in there. And it’s twofold: it’s obviously to provide health care, but it’s to create relationships so they can begin to trust us and hopefully come out of that oppressive existence one day.

We just actually built and started our first school, which is grades one to eight for children of sex workers only, so it’s specifically for that. And Mr. Devaraj is very clear that the school should be like a school that we would want our own children to go to, that these children should not get the short end of the stick just because of their birth place. It’s a great school, and since we’ve built the school, we have begun conversations with different churches to encourage them to come on church outings to the school to see if there was any help that the church community itself could offer.

As an organization we work with many different, smaller organizations around India and globally, as well as different churches. The cause allows us to look past the denominations we have created in the church and focus on the call to serve as Jesus did. Movement Day allows us to build relationships with other organizations in the field. We’ve worked with other American ministries towards the same end goal – to end trafficking. But there is definitely more need in this area, and there’s so much hope.

Q: Could also share just what are some signs of hope that you’re seeing in Mumbai from the work that you’re doing and that Set Beautiful Free is doing?

I think so often we can get so bogged down with the statistics and the tragedy and the horror that we forget the hope. And, for me, that’s been actually one of the main factors in me being able to continue to talk about this work. We just celebrated four marriage engagements of young girls who were rescued from the red light area. They’ve all been so incredible– they found matches and good boys and men to marry, so four engagements, which is the beginning of a new chapter for eight lives. It’s forever changed the trajectory of these four women. There are so many more stories like this, with young children who arrived without receiving any love or care so unable to even hug, to now being a part of this family and sharing their testimonies of hope with others. Of women who were once born to workers who succumbed to diseases like HIV, only to spend their life studying microbiology with the intent on finding a cure eventually.

Q: What do you hope to share with leaders at Movement Day Global Cities (MDGC) this fall?

I want to share a story, actually, of one of my personal heroes, a lady who was sold at the age of 11. Eventually she was rescued and now she’s a rescuer, so her life went a whole 180 degrees. I want to talk through her story because the story is what’s powerful. The statistics end up getting a little bit too much sometimes, so I hope that hearing her story will be able to share some hope.

Read More

Oh Canada

June 28, 2016

 

In honor of our Northern neighbor’s birthday on July 1st, we thought we would take a moment to catch up with Tim Day, one of the Canadian members of the #MDGC16 family who will be joining us in New York City this October. Author, former pastor, and now leader of City Movement Canada – an initiative created “to help business leaders, para-church ministries and churches work together to advance the gospel in their city” – Tim will be bringing 100 dynamic Canadian leaders to #MDGC16 to experience a rich time of collaborative gospel movement dialogue and training.

Q: How would you describe the current gospel landscape of Canada?
Statistics show a straight line decline in weekly church attendance for Canadians since the 1960’s. This statistic of church attendance is now reaching 11%. This trend points to weekly attendance dropping below 5% in the next 10 years if a change does not occur. This reflects an increasingly secular and pluralistic society.

Q: What urban issues are Canadians facing on a daily basis?
Canadians are facing urban challenges connected to high housing prices, lack of relationships, long work hours, and pressure to “keep up.”

Q: You are leading the team behind City Movement Canada, an initiative created “to help business leaders, para-church ministries and churches work together to advance the gospel in their city.” Would you share more about what inspired you to launch this initiative?
I and my team worked for 15 years with Toronto’s largest multi-site church. We became increasingly aware of the challenges of leading effective ministry in cities, the declining health of the church, and the exodus of millennials from the church. It became obvious that the solution needed to be bigger than any one church or ministry.

Q: How has your experience as a pastor of 15 years and an author of God Enters Stage Left, ‘a creative retelling of God’s story,’ informed your approach to bringing about gospel movement?
Leaders like ideas, strategies and programs. I discovered that people aren’t so engaged by these, but rather want to feel actively in relationship with God and to join Jesus in the adventure of His story. A movement is not so much about a great program but a great story worth telling and joining.

Q: You are bringing a team of 100 leaders from Canada to Movement Day Global Cities 2016. What are you and this team most looking forward to about MDGC 2016?
We have two core groups coming. The first is a group of strategic millennial leaders from across Canada. We will be doing a think tank with them at MDGC16 to envision a new future for the church of Canada in cities. The second group is composed of city leaders from across Canada who are attending as a way to help us listen well to what God is doing across the world, as well as to what God is doing in and through this group of young leaders. I am excited to have this time to listen to what God will say to us. It reminds me of Acts 15: ‘it seemed good to us and the Holy Spirit.’

Q: How can the broader Movement Day community support those working to bring about gospel movement in Canada?
The broader MDGC16 community can support us by continuing to create a strong, functional global network of city ministry leaders that can walk together as we witness God align His church, in heart and mission, in cities around the world.

Read More

#FRIDAYREADS: “God So Loves the City: Seeking a Theology for Urban Mission” BY Charles Van Engen 

June 21, 2016

Charles Van Engen started his ministry as a missionary in Mexico working mainly in theological education. Since then he has taught missiology at Western Theological Seminary in Michigan and is currently at Fuller University as the Arthur F. Glasser Professor Emeritus of Biblical Theology of Mission and Senior Professor of Biblical Theology of Mission. He has authored and coauthored many books including You are my Witnesses and God So Loved the City.

In his book, God So Loved the City, Van Engen exposes stories of ministers from Nairobi, Mexico City, Los Angeles and Madras. His goal is to shed light on the mission of the church for the city. Each story uniquely shows the different challenges each city faces when it comes to injustice, marginalization and urban structure. These stories help reveal how we can all practice ministry in our own cities. If you have a heart for urban ministry this book is a must read for you.

Read More

#FRIDAYREADS: "God So Loves the City: Seeking a Theology for Urban Mission" BY Charles Van Engen 

June 21, 2016

Charles Van Engen started his ministry as a missionary in Mexico working mainly in theological education. Since then he has taught missiology at Western Theological Seminary in Michigan and is currently at Fuller University as the Arthur F. Glasser Professor Emeritus of Biblical Theology of Mission and Senior Professor of Biblical Theology of Mission. He has authored and coauthored many books including You are my Witnesses and God So Loved the City.

In his book, God So Loved the City, Van Engen exposes stories of ministers from Nairobi, Mexico City, Los Angeles and Madras. His goal is to shed light on the mission of the church for the city. Each story uniquely shows the different challenges each city faces when it comes to injustice, marginalization and urban structure. These stories help reveal how we can all practice ministry in our own cities. If you have a heart for urban ministry this book is a must read for you.

Read More

Emerging Leaders Forum

June 13, 2016

 

On June 2, 2016, New York City (NYC) Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted the city’s first ever Emerging Leaders Evening in partnership with his Clergy Advisory Council, The New York City Leadership Center, Thrive Collective, NY CityServe, Mattera Management, Young Life NYC, and God Belongs In My City. Hosted at the Mayor’s personal residence, Gracie Mansion, a diverse group of interfaith and intergenerational leaders gathered to celebrate the raising up of a new era of strong, community-focused, emerging leaders. Guest speakers included Rev. Michael Walrond, Rev. Adam Durso, Dr. A.R. Bernard, Rabbi Potasnik, and Imam Talib.

Mayor de Blasio delivered a meaningful address reflecting on some of the valuable community initiatives and partnerships, which he and his administration have spearheaded. His focus on collaboration and the “irreplaceable role of community of faith leaders” was an invaluable contribution to an evening of connection and conversation.

Dialogue centered around the importance of collaboration in city leadership, various approaches to running vibrant houses of worship within the city, and the role of the millennial generation in challenging institutional approaches to leadership. Dr. A.R. Bernard, senior pastor of Christian Cultural Center, celebrated the emergence of more female leaders in leadership roles than ever before. So too was an emphasis placed upon the importance of undertaking a people-focused approach to leadership. Said Rev. Michael A. Walrond Jr., senior pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church, “Building legacy is more than just building your name, but investing in people.” There was a call to remain engaged in urban and social justice issues facing communities across the city.

A portion of the evening was devoted to an interfaith panel which explored various approaches being utilized to engage younger leaders in houses of worship across N.Y.C. Panelists shared their experiences of being invited to serve on their house of worship’s board of trustees, building coalitions, participating in leadership training, and receiving mentorship as they seek to become more involved in the development and growth of their house of worship.

Millennial leader and evening attendee Alana Barrett-Adkins noted, “There is an African proverb which says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’ This evening I was reminded of this timeless truth which emphasizes the impact of collective agreement. Despite our differences in spiritual tenets, understandings, and observances, we can unite around common causes for the benefit of our community.”

Reflected Rev. Adam Durso, who spearheaded the vision of the evening, “Tonight, is the beginning of a conversation not the end of an event…We are going to continue this conversation around what does it look like when the most missionally-conscious generation steps up, outside of the four walls of our church buildings, outside of our own practices of faith, and does something that engages the community?”

We are extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of an evening of such valuable dialogue and connection. Would you continue to partner with us in prayer as we uphold the leaders within our community?

Read More

Categories

Archives