A majority of the world now lives in sizable cities. Five million people are moving into sizeable cities every month, essentially a new San Francisco every month. The great phenomenon today, as in the first century church, is that God more than ever is choreographing nations into our neighborhoods. The focus of our issue network is gospel movements in sizable cities. Global cities also have a disproportionate influence on our culture and the expansion of the gospel.
The book of Acts provides the paradigm of how God uses a community of praying multiethnic leaders to lead a movement of the gospel. Jesus died in Jerusalem as the religious capital of the world, and Paul died in Rome the political capital of the world. Paul never went to a small city—only strategic, culture-shaping cities of the first century. Cities disproportionately shape our culture. We believe that the 100 most influential cities in the world drive 30% of the global economy and 100% of global innovation (Tim Keller, June 2011).
Cities are crucially important for the human future and for world mission. Half the world now lives in cities. Cities are where four major kinds of people are most to be found: (i) the next generation of young people; (ii) the most unreached peoples who have migrated; (iii) the culture shapers; (iv) the poorest of the poor. The Cape Town Commitment II-D-4
In September 2014, the Global City Leadership Community was launched with monthly conference calls. Participants included city leaders from South America, Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South Pacific, and South Asia. This team met in London in May 2014 to plan out a Global City Movement Day, to be held in 2016 in New York City and annually thereafter. The network has been reading books together (Why Cities Matter and The Next Christendom) and sharing best practices from one another’s contexts.
In the next several years, the plan is to build around the Global City Movement Day in October each year. We have working closely with identified networks with a global reach (Willow Creek Association and Redeemer City to City). We hope to accomplish three things:
- Build a database of best practices in major cities with identified network leaders.
- Convene evangelical influencers in New York City in 2016 for Global City Movement Day to focus on the major cities of the world.
- Report and promote the best practices of city movements from five continents.
In collaboration with other global networks such as the Global Leadership Summit, we plan to stimulate learning about the needs and opportunities in major global cities in order to reach them with the gospel. We aspire to have partners in each of the 12 regions of the world to collaborate with existing best practices and to start new efforts to advance God’s mission in cities.