I had the pleasure this evening of reading, on one-sided card-stock paper, some very hard to find Conn writings. It was self bound and to my knowledge not published and distributed widely, beyond the very small private handing out of it. In a MARC monograph (a ministry of World Vision) entitled, Changing the world, Harvie contributed the final article on “The City As Our Biblical Calling.” For Harvie the greatest concern facing the church today was Urban Missions, and happily Harvie conceived the City as the focal point for missions in Scripture. Here’s one way Harvie’s expressed that;
Question: What is lost for want of ten righteous people (Gen18:32) and the reward of multipliers of ten talents (Luke 19:17)?
Question: What did Cain build for his son (Gen 4:17) and God promise to rebuild for His sons and daughters (Isa 54:3)?
Question: If the Bible begins in a garden, where does it end?
Question: What has towers that reach in pride to challenge God (Gen 11:4) and a manger occupant that topples principalities and powers (Luke 2:34)?
Our answer to all these questions? The city, the goal of Abraham’s tenting pilgrimage (Heb 11:10), the place of Jesus’ redemptive triumph, and the center of Paul’s missionary strategy. (pg. 33)
The city was not only at the center of the bible’s focus on mission, it was a central concern facing the Church’s mission in the twentieth century and I might add twenty first century. Here is a simple question for all of you: how can the suburban and rural churches be missional to the city while remaining missional to their local contexts? Have we made something sacrosanct in spending most of our missions moments, missions budgets, and short-term missions trips to other nations across the seas of water while all along forgetting or perhaps overlooking that the nations have come to us and live in the seas of concrete? In our neighboring cities lie ten thousand villages, are we ready to spread the good news of the Kingdom, word and deed, to them?