As some might know, I give leadership to an organization called One Way Ministries. Last October I had a chance to attend a conference called Movement Day in New York City. The conference brings together leaders from around the world who have a passion and vision to reach their cities. City Reaching (as we’ve called it in the past) has been our passion. I’ve noticed that people are begining to use a new name, “City Gospel Movement”.
Tim Keller (Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church) has long been involved in City Gospel Movements and his church and ministry are the organizers of Movement Day. Tim Keller’s definition of a City Gospel Movement is, “Christians and Churches coming together across racial and denominational lines in a city unified by (a) the gospel and (b) a vision to reach that city. Which means to see the urban body of Christ grow in quality and quantity faster than the population. That the salt and light of Christian love and truth will influence the life of that city, renewing it, improving it socially, influencing it culturally and lifting Jesus’s name so that it’s increasingly respected and honoured in that city.”
So much can be unpacked from this, but one of the things I’ve been thinking about and praying into for years is the idea of knowing the condition of the body of Christ in Ottawa. People often ask me, “How is the church in Ottawa doing?” My answer is, “I don’t know.” I might be able to tell you how some individual churches are growing or seem more healthy, but overall I don’t know.
At this conference, it was reported that the evangelical churches of NYC had grown by 500% over the last 25 years. This statistic is amazing and encouraging given all we hear about how the church is declining in North America – including Canada. But what’s got me thinking is that someone must have collected that data in order to report how the church is doing more broadly in NYC.
So how is the church doing in Ottawa? My prayer and desire is to see us find a way to gather that data. We need this. What is the level of spirituality in our city? Are our churches growing or declining? Are we losing our youth? Are we planting more churches than are closing that are sustaining and reaching people for Christ?
Would you pray with me for a team who would catch this and the funding to make it happen?