Taking Ownership for our Cities
by Keith Harrington.
Churches Together Invercargill - Leader
The book of Nehemiah is a story of rebuilding the broken walls of Jerusalem which had left it at the mercy of its enemies. This is an accurate description of our cities in NZ. They are at the mercy of the schemes and plans of the enemy who brings lies, destruction and despair.
In Isaiah 61:4 God promises his people that they will be rebuilders of city walls and bearers of hope to places of desolation. Therefore, I think that Nehemiah has something to say to us as city leaders.
In chapters one and two we read that Nehemiah heard and then saw first-hand the plight of the city. Despite the fact that he was far away and in a comfortable position, he took ownership of the condition of Jerusalem.
The starting point for the rebuilding of city walls is that leaders have to take responsibility for their state. As church leaders we have often only been concerned for the spiritual state of the congregation God has called us to pastor. However, I believe God is asking us to take ownership and responsibility for the condition of the city that God has placed us in.
This is where unity is crucial. One leader on their own can make little impact on the state of a city. But a unified church leadership weilds considerable influence, both in the spiritual and the natural. The church of a city is the biggest organization by far in a city, with more volunteers, buildings, and abilities than any other group. The church of the city is a powerful influence in the spiritual atmosphere of a city. The church of a city reaches into more sectors of a city than any other group.
Are we willing to weep as Nehemiah did for the city? Are we willing to go out and see for ourselves the state of our city. Or are we going to sit at a distance, and say it has nothing to do with us. We seek unity because we are commanded to and because it is only by working together that we can rebuild city walls.