How do we seek the flourishing of our city in such a way that contributes to the urban renewal happening all around us?
“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” – Jeremiah 29:7
Jeremiah 29 paints an incredible picture of a people called to love God in the context of a culture that is not their own. It is a passage that I point to regularly, read regularly, and find solace in regularly.
In a post-Christian context it is perhaps the most apt resource for the church realizing it is in the midst of a shifting culture. We are called to be a people marked by service and charity, generosity and faithfulness. But now we are in the midst of a cultural environment where we are no longer the most powerful voice, rather just one among many. So how do we engage not so much the world around us, but the community right outside our front doors?
That was the burning question for us as we planted The Mission Chattanooga. We felt called to plant in the thriving urban center of the city, the place where life, business, entertainment, and institutions were all within a one-block radius.
In 2009, the trend of people moving back into cities was in full swing and we knew that was where God was calling us to plant a new community of faith. The problem was, we knew that in order to be effective and to reveal the kingdom in the heart of the city, we would have to have a presence beyond Sunday morning (or evening, in our case, as we planted an evening service first).
So how do we engage? How do we seek the “flourishing of our city” in such a way that contributes to the urban renewal happening all around us?
In 2010, only a few months after planting the Mission Chattanooga, we opened The Camp House to be a third space in Chattanooga. …