• ‘A North Korean soldier races for the border in a jeep and then on foot before his former comrades shoot him at least five times as he limps into South Korea, where he collapses and is dragged to safety by southern soldiers...’ This was the news headline the day we visited ‘one of the world’s most dangerous borders’ according to NY Times. Tensions at the DMZ (Demilitarized zone) were high, following the shooting the previous day.
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  • Over the years, I have been involved in many lively debates attempting to define movements of the gospel. It begins with the name. Several years ago, we changed the term “Church planting movements” to “Disciple making movements.”
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  • We desperately need a fresh theology of us. Movements are about us. The church is plagued by a theology of me. The individual has become the great end of God’s plan for mankind. This misses the entire gospel. God’s plan was never for an individual – it was for a redeemed people.
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  • Movements require much more than a simplistic approach to conversion and evangelism. Evangelism is more than seeking to proselytize, baptize and abandon. Such programs count conversations and baptisms. In my context, they have caused great pain, disillusionment and a mass rejection of the gospel.
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  • True, apostolic movements are continually torn between chaos and order. This tension will always exist inside a healthy movement. Chaos needs to be present for movements to emerge. That is why institutions do not respond well to emerging movements. Most institutions tend to move towards stability and conformity. Churches and non-profits are no exception.
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  • Accelerate Training

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Lately I have been reflecting on urban movements and how we go about creating Disciple Making Movements in cities. Sometimes this subject can become quite technical, full of strategies and tactical plans. But as I am learning about the urban dweller, I am also learning about her yearning for beauty.

The city dweller is cut off from creation. His urban surroundings draw him away from a Creator God who seeks to know him and be known. His reality is man-made, littered with the occasional flower in a vase to give him the faintest glimmer of a God who is bigger than his concrete jungle. He lives in an existence that glorifies man's achievements and stamps God's creation as primitive. Is it any wonder that he struggles with the Creation story? To him, it seems a distant fairy tale one far removed from his daily reality.

Is God calling out to the urban dweller? Does God still love him? Does God still woo her? I believe He does. And He does so often through the yearning for beauty.

Something happens when mankind gazes on beauty. His heart comes alive again. There is a deep yearning "not for beauty itself" but for the truth of a loving, caring, creative God that such beauty reveals. We all sense it. When we gaze across a landscape, witness a sunset or listen to beautiful music. We are drawn to beauty because beauty reveals another reality. It tells the story of a creation before the fall one where Gods full character and glory is revealed.

If we want to see urban movements, we need to embrace beauty. We need to promote the arts and create the music that reveals a glimpse of His glory. No, not the Christian music that attempts to package confrontational sermons inside mediocre melodies! Rather, we need to embrace beauty the songs of love, the colours of life.

What beauty draws you closer to Him? A painting or photograph? A sunset? A new born baby? An upbeat tune? An outing in nature? I'd love to hear your thoughts. How do we reflect the beauty of creation that romances the city dweller into embracing the Creator?



0 #2 Keith 2016-07-09 18:58
We live in an urban setting in Russia. I see how people here really value the arts and nature. But I’d be interested to hear any ideas on how to practically apply this as we seek to make disciples here. How should it change what we do? How could these principles help us reach people more effectively?
0 #1 John Lawrenson 2016-07-09 18:57
Beautiful, I love it, speaks right to my heart. Reminiscent of some John Eldredge themes as well. Woo or woe? rgds John

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