Why cities matter

From Los Angeles to New York City, from Boston to Kansas City — the majority of people in the United States live in urban areas. More than 70 percent, to be exact. Our cities are ripe with culture, entrepreneurship, and opportunities to explore the world within our own backyard.

Great hope

We believe, like Stephen Um (Pastor, Boston, MA) and Justin Buzzard (Pastor, Silicon Valley, CA), authors of Why Cities Matter, that “The city stands as one of our great hopes for renewing our broken world.” Because cities never remain the same, the opportunity for reform, change, and reaching people for the common good is more possible and imperative than ever.

City as locus

The city is the locus where truth, goodness, and beauty are the result of the urban engine. The city offers us countless opportunities to direct our worship to the one true God. Christians should lead the way in displaying the grace of God at work and striving toward this truth, goodness, and beauty ­— the common good — as those who desire to cause the entire city to rejoice (Prov 11:10).

God loves cities

From Genesis to Revelation, it is apparent that God loves and cares for cities. Not that God does not also love and care for the suburbs and rural areas, because he does. Yet it is striking how we see the emergence of cities in Genesis, and then the Bible closes with a celestial city — a renewed Eden, that God’s people will inhabit and flourish within. A “Garden-city2 filled with truth, goodness, and beauty as far as the eye can see. If God cares for the city in this way, Christians need to consider their importance, too.

This is why Made to Flourish cares for the city. This also informs our city network structure and strategy. Our goal is to work toward a biblical vision for the city by helping pastors connect Sunday faith to Monday work in a way that equips everyday Christians to walk as disciples of Jesus in every sphere of their life. There is no sacred/secular distinction — the work of Christians in the marketplace and social sectors in our cities is an important part of how God is carrying out his mission in the world.

We have 27 city networks, stewarded by two City Network Leaders. These are full-time pastors who invite other pastors to join our network, host ministry lunches, and invite marketplace leaders and pastors to participate in our Learning Communities. All of this is in an effort to help churches and ministries truly equip their people to live out a theology of work in a way that leads to flourishing people, workers, neighborhoods, and cities..

1. Modified quote from Why Cities Matter, Stephen Um and Justin Buzzard.
2. From Why Cities Matter, Stephen Um and Justin Buzzard

Topics: City Engagement, Common Good, Theology of Work

About the Author

Luke Bobo serves as director of strategic partnerships at Made to Flourish. He worked for 15 years in the marketplace as an engineer before earning his M.Div. and Ph.D., eventually serving as the executive director of the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Seminary.