Week 1 - Why Cities Are Important

Boston. b-o-s-t-o-n. There really isn’t another city that makes me light up (other than maybe Athens) like that word does. I can still remember my first time here exactly two years ago. Getting off the plane, getting my baggage, a homeless man laughing at my attempts to navigate the T all while people rolled their eyes at how much room my luggage took up on the sub…good times.

 

Ok maybe that part sucked, but coming out of the subway into Copley Square was like something out of a movie. I honestly felt like I was playing the part of a small-town character who goes into the city for the first time. I loved it instantly. It was then that I realized I was made for cities.

 

Fast forward to a week ago. Same feeling, but not nearly as cinematic. Like “Yea……ok cool, I could get used to this”. Everything came back to me. How to navigate the T, the enormous library, and most importantly; how to J-walk.

 

Cities are important. I only just started reading a book called Why Cities Matter and I relate to it so much. Here’s some info from it: 

-    180,000 people move into cities every day. (5.5 million monthly)

-    Half of Africa’s population will be urban by 2050. (38% currently)

-    In the next 20 years, China’s cities will add an additional 350 MILLION (that’s basically an additional America) to their population.

 

Cities are important and I believe that as your love for people grows, so should your love for cities. 

 

If you’re here for an update (thanks mom), I’ll go ahead and do that now. This past week we spent letting the novices learn about Boston. We’re specifically working in Mission Hill, a 3/4 square mile neighborhood, according to Wikipedia. We’re volunteering at 3 different organizations there, while simultaneously helping a future church planter get acquainted with the people and area. We’re mapping out things like how many compassion ministries the town offers, and what the greatest needs of the people here are. So this past week was a lot of paperwork, prayer, and meeting people. 

 

Ok, now that that’s over with (sorry mom) we can continue to talk about how cool cities are. Cities never stop. They are always changing, always adapting, and never close before midnight. Rather than going for a run in your neighborhood by yourself, you can run through Central Park or the Charles River Esplanade with 1000 of your closest friends. 

 

We are in the middle of a fourth wave of urbanization: Megacities. Never before has our world looked so much like the book of Acts. The CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton put it this way: "if you were to ask me, from all the data you have studied so far, where will the next breakthrough, such as Internet-based everything come from? My answer would be from the combination of the forces within big cities, great universities, and their powerful local leaders…. The cornerstone of these three is cities… as goes the leadership of the top 100 American cities, so goes the country's economic future.”

 

If churches, or any organization, wish to invest in people, our country, and the nations, they must invest in cities.