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throne of David Thy servant speedily done everything, to stand (Ephesians must not limit our efforts by embracing
establish there. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, 6:10-13, NIV). only the few who look, speak, and wor-
the builder of Jerusalem. Amen” (source
Jesus calls us to go to our cities as
ship just like us.
home missionaries to minister to the
As my wife and I left our place of
Sitting on this Oregon mountain, I
homeless, the hungry, and the addicted.
prayer on the mountain, we headed back
sensed the heart of Jesus as He spoke to
The cities are also not only filled with
to the city to prepare once again to reach
the disciples about the Great Commis-
widows and orphans; we must minister out to those who sleep under the bridges
sion. When His commission is applied to
to those in the middle class who present and over the steam grates, having
our cities, we see a church engaged in a the semblance of happiness yet remain implored God to help us replace the card-
never-ending cycle of reaching out to unfulfilled. board and filthy blankets with a blanket
those who are underprivileged, lacking Our worship services and ministries in of Jesus’ love. It was as if we heard the
food, without jobs, and lacking the edu- the cities must transcend ethnicity and voice of our Lord saying, “Behold, I am
cation necessary to build a better life. culture. The cry of Jesus demands that we coming soon! My reward is with me, and
I will give to everyone according to what
“Jesus calls us to go to our cities as home missionaries to reach the he has done. . . . Blessed are those who
homeless, the hungry, and the addicted. We must not limit our efforts
wash their robes, that they may have the
right to the tree of life and may go
by embracing only the few who look, speak, and worship like us.”
through the gates into the city. Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:12, 14,
In our cities we face daily challenges develop multicultural worship, education, 20, NIV).
such as gangs, drugs, and urban violence. ministry, and evangelism, which means If we fulfill the Great Commission, we
We understand that gang violence is a that we also look at our processes of must include the cities!
social phenomenon that affects the assimilation. We aren’t just called to
whole of society, although it is primarily make converts, but to make disciples. This Samuel M. Irving is senior
young men who are being killed or incar- means that people from all backgrounds pastor of Albina Christian Cen-
cerated due to gang-related activities. must be brought together for genuine ter Church of God in Portland,
Young children are often left fatherless, Christian nurture and fellowship. Our Oregon. He serves as a member
citizens feel victimized and afraid, and primary objective is not diversification, of a select consortium of minis-
the economic sustainability of neighbor- but fulfilling the Great Commission. Yet, ters chosen by the Seminary at Boston Uni-
hoods declines. The result is overwhelm- fulfilling Christ’s commission in the cities versity to study inner-city ministries in the
ing frustration and anger. Many have naturally results in diversification. We United States.
given up in despair. This cycle of vio-
lence, fear, and desperation presents a
challenge to the church. We can offer
hope through Jesus Christ!
Great Commission Challenges
As intercessors gather weekly in our
prayer and study groups, reports come in • North America is the only continent where Christianity is not growing.
from our city in turmoil. The thing that —
keeps us strong and resistant to the
• Nearly 11 million U.S. residents are not fluent in English, up from 6.6 million in
attacks of the Evil One is the challenge of
1990.—U.S. Census Bureau and The Week (May 18, 2007)
the Apostle Paul:
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty
• Canada is now 18% foreign-born. More than two million people (more than half
power. Put on the full armor of God so
of Toronto’s population) are foreign-born residents.—
that you can take your stand against
• Asian-Americans have now become America’s fastest-growing ethnic group.
the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is
Asian-Americans numbered 13.1 million in 2004, but are expected to reach 33.4
not against flesh and blood, but against
the rulers, against the authorities,
million by 2050.—U.S. Census Bureau
against the powers of this dark world
• The population of the United States is more than 300 million, and it is expected
and against the spiritual forces of evil in
to grow to 440 million by 2050. Canada’s current population is over 30 million,
the heavenly realms. Therefore put on
and more than 250,000 immigrants are admitted each year.—On Mission maga-
the full armor of God, so that when the
day of evil comes, you may be able to
zine (Summer 2009)
stand your ground, and after you have
EVANGEL • SEP 2009 19
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