Early in our transition from leading Indian Creek Community Church to city reaching ministry through Love KC, God whispered a thought into my mind. It was this, ask Me what I want to do in this city. I began that day and continued to this day, asking God what is on His heart for Kansas City. It’s a bigger download than my small mind can handle, but there are parts that have worked their way into my heart I want to share.
I’m more aware than ever, God loves every man, woman, girl, and boy and is drawing them to His heart. Every ONE. Would you agree?
Jesus is Good Shepherd who goes after the one lost sheep. Every single one is important to Him, and He will not rest until they are with Him. I began to ask myself, do we have a plan for reaching everyone that is consistent with His dedication?
Are we content with things as they are, or is our heart broken by the things that break the heart of God? That’s a good question to ask God if we are willing to hear the answer.
I became convicted about the times where, as a Lead Pastor, I was so consumed with serving the sheep in the fold, it wasn’t on my daily radar to make a plan to reach everyone. I regret to say that I was often preoccupied with “my” church while thousands around me were apart from a relationship with Jesus.
It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I just allowed myself to be overcome with the reasons why we couldn’t reach every one in our city, that I didn’t spend much time thinking outside my local church box.
One of my prayers these days is that everyone who wakes up in Kansas City will have a disciple who lives near them praying for them by name, caring as Jesus cares and sharing—sharing their influence, sharing their story, sharing the Good News.
Is this just a pipe dream? I think it is not only God’s dream, but it is His will. Is it impossible? The scale is daunting, but nothing God desires is impossible. However, it would require His “big C” Church to think and act differently.
We need to think about our city as a whole not just our individual micro-ministries. Yes, all of them are important, but God sees us as one body with many members. We are one in His eyes.
The letters to the seven churches in Revelation remind us that God thinks about cities, not just churches. John could have called out individual leaders in the city. He could have had unique messages for the multiple gatherings across a city, but he chose to address the church in Smyrna, in Pergamum and Philadelphia as one body, one Church. He had a unique message from Jesus for each one.
We don’t tend to think like this about our city, as church leaders. Maybe the scope is so big we let ourselves off the hook. Who can truly comprehend what God would say to the Church in Kansas City? One thing is for certain, no one person, no one church will have all the answers. It will take a city full of churches, leaders, and people working together to reach a city. We have no chance if we don’t work together.
But what if we did work together? Is reaching Kansas City for Jesus too big of a thought for us? We would answer nothing is impossible for God. And if that’s true, would we have the courage to think that we must work together to fulfill the heart of the Father for our city?
How would we reach a city for God? No doubt there is room for many strategies and tactics but before we go there—we must first have the heart for the whole city turning to Jesus. Do we have that heart? Let’s pray for it, Lord Jesus, give us Your heart for Kansas City.
It starts with the heart. We have hearts for our families. We have hearts for our churches and ministries but do we have the Father’s heart for our city?
What would it take to work together? Would we prioritize unity and cooperation or are we too busy with our own concerns?
Perhaps this is why Jesus said that all of the law and the prophets are summarized by the two great commandments, to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Do you think this is just aspirational? I don’t. I believe He gave us the plan to reach the world. We must love God and love others. This divine plan is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, we each have a part.
I believe we can reach our city if we prioritize disciple-making. If every believer sees one’s self as a missionary and adopts their neighborhood as their mission field, we could reach our city. And we don’t have to narrowly define neighboring. We could acknowledge that our neighbor could be those with whom we live, work, study, and play.
There are already believers spread all across Kansas City. There may even be a believer in every neighborhood–but we don’t think and act like the disciples in Acts. We are content to go to church instead of remembering we are the church. Too often we think being a disciple is attending a Bible study instead of living on mission every day. We think sharing the Good News is something a pastor or ministry leader does.
But what if we caught God’s heart and began living like missionaries? What if churches worked together all across our city to adopt every neighborhood?
There are 400 neighborhoods in the greater Kansas City metro area if you define neighborhoods by the boundaries of your local public elementary grade school. It is achievable to say, let’s work together to identify that there is a believer in every neighborhood who would be a light to their neighborhood. We could do that. Right?
You are probably saying to yourself; I’m sure there is more than one believer in every 400 neighborhoods. Yes, but we are not connected and don’t have a plan simple enough that anyone could do it.
Okay, let’s make a plan. What if every disciple would commit to three simple rhythms of life as a disciple?
Every believer could pray for their neighbors by name every day. Every believer could care, as Jesus leads them to care, in simple obedience to the Holy Spirit. Every believer could share. They could share their influence, share their story and share the Good News of Jesus.
If we all did this, then every believer who wakes up in Kansas City would have a disciple praying for them by name, caring for them as Jesus cares and sharing life with them. We would be expressing the love and extending the reach of Jesus like the Good Shepherd going after each lost sheep.
And what if believers connected in neighborhoods to meet regularly to pray together and ask God how to serve their neighborhoods and school? When people turn to Jesus in this community, then they are already surrounded by friends who could lead them to become a disciple. Disciple-making is already in place.
If this is the Father’s heart, it is not impossible for His Church, His bride. Why would we settle for less?