City Motivators for City Takers: NINE


 Here is the ninth of a series that I hope will be an encouragement to those who have a 'city focus'.. 

City Motivators for City Takers: NINE


A Light in the Darkness


We are all aware no doubt of the recent cyclone devastation in the northern regions of New Zealand. The heart-rending loss of life, loss of homes, loss of livelihood experienced by many. Plus, the long recovery-road ahead. However, in the midst of this pain and devastation it has been encouraging to witness the many church/combined church efforts that have, and are, bringing relief in a variety of ways to those in need. To those who are suffering from the devastation, you are in our prayers. To those who are meeting needs, be encouraged, your labour is not in vain.

As a way of encouragement, I am reminded of how the early church ministered to the needy of their day. Large numbers of people were homeless and impoverished as a result of epidemics, plagues, fire, earthquakes etc. The Roman Empire was self-destructing through moral collapse. But, the people of The Way, the Christians, were rescuing abandoned babies, finding jobs and homes for the displaced, feeding the elderly, and taking care of the children and the sick when the plagues came. The early church continued to prioritise its ministry to the poor and needy, despite some of its members dying as they selflessly served those in need. Notwithstanding this, Christians grew in number and cities were evangelised.

According to Prof. Rodney Stark in his well-documented book The Rise of Christianity, the gospel brought radical change to the 30 major cities of the Roman Empire. In his definitive study of these cities of AD 1 – AD 300, he outlines the positive changes Christianity brought over that time to them. Evangelism of the Roman Empire through the Christianisation of its cities was the story of the early church.

He writes, “Christianity served as a revitalization movement that arose in response to the misery, chaos, fear and brutality of life in the urban Greco-Roman world. . . Christianity revitalized life in Greco-Roman cities by providing new norms, and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent problems. To cities filled with the homeless and impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachment. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fire, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing services. . . For what they brought was not simply an urban movement, but a new culture capable of making life in Greco-Roman cities tolerable.”

The Rise of Christianity Book 

A verse for thought. “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.”

Isaiah 58:7-8, 10 NLT

God bless. Colin


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