Is your mission to fulfill God’s purpose? Or is it your fame within God’s purposes?
This is a valid question for every Christian leader, but as Dhati Lewis states in his book, Among Wolves: Disciple-Making in the City, it’s especially important for leaders in the urban context.
What is Urban?
As sociologists Gottdiener and Hutchinson explain,
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, more than 3 billion persons—about half of the world’s population—lived in urban areas. By 2030, this number is expected to increase from 3 to more than 5 billion persons—some 60 percent of the total world population. This will be the first urban century in human history.
In the face of this emerging reality, Dhati and his team—through the church he’s planted, and the ministry he leads—have developed a strategy for indigenous disciple-making in the urban context. They’ve done this by embracing both density and diversity in the city context, and by creating a culture of effective disciple-making.
Urban ministry is not the same thing as inner city ministry to the homeless.
Ministry to the homeless that happens in the inner city is definitely urban, but there are other dimensions that must be taken into account. For example, when a neighborhood is undergoing gentrification, you’ll have a ton of socioeconomic diversity.
Extreme poverty can be right beside extreme wealth.
For example, a family who has owned their house for generations may be forced out of their gentrifying neighborhood because they can’t pay the rising property taxes. Sure they might make a lot on the sale of their home, but where will they move? Their life and community are right there…and it has been there for decades. Is that fair just because some developer wants to build condos and make a quick buck?