Helping mission champions to multiply Kingdom impact

The Yearning for Beauty

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 colors 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?


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?

Beautiful, I love it, speaks right to my heart. Reminiscent of some John Eldredge themes as well. Woo or woe? Regards, John

Hi David, thanks for the excellent post. I do have some comments/questions.

1) You say this: "Crowds attract spectators, not disciples. Long term small groups develop naval-gazers, not disciples." I have to agree with the first statement, but not with the second statement. We never start small groups, but churches. And churches IF they have a missional DNA and setting will produce disciples. We have seen a lot of house church stay naval-gazers when they are inward focussed. But with the right tools, DNA and passion they produce disciple makers.

2) Do you have the link to the historical evidence that house churches in the NT were 50-120 people?

3) How often do you meet as a Gathering? My main concern would be that it can grow into a traditional church meeting when done every week and that it will be not missional anymore and we do NOT plant churches and make disciples anymore.