Do you know your city?

Jonathan Dodson has a great post with a few tips for those in the early stage of church planting.

  • Spend more time with people and less time with books in the first year of church planting. Learn your city, know its lostness, love your city, re-learn how to share the gospel in your context. Fall in love with your target people. The more you know and love them, the better your witness to the gospel will be, including your preaching.
  • Identify the top 10 Obstacles to the Gospel in your Context. Don’t do this from the armchair, do it from anecdotes (conversations) and cultural exegesis (spending time in pockets of resistance or indifference).
  • Identify the top 10 Obstacles to the Church in your Context. Anecdotes and exegesis. Learn the history of hypocrisy in your city or town so that you can apologize and distance yourself from mockeries of the Church. What do people think of when they think “church”? Have they ever gone to one? Why did they stop?

If we really want to reach the city, if we want to speak to the idols of our culture then spending time with people outside of church cirlces is critical (and you will be surprised how few Christians are intentionally doing this!).  Knowing the objections and misunderstandings of our city is vital if you actually want to connect with the people you are trying to reach.

As an exercise then over the next few weeks, I will attempt to give initial answers to these two questions:

a) Top 10 Obstacles to the Gospel in Cape Town and

b) The Top Ten Obstacles to the Church in Cape Town.

This will force me to think about the city in which I have lived almost my entire life.  Do I really know the city?  Do I really understand the city?  What makes it trickier is that there is unlikely to be one right answer across the differing socio-economic, cultural and educational levels of a Cape Town.

I want to attempt to commit some thoughts onto “paper”, and then follow that up over the next few months with an intentionality in listening for the answers to these questions as I engage with my city and its people.  Where it could get interesting is where I start to look at my initial answers and then compare it with what people are saying…

And maybe Stephen, busy with church-planting as I write, will give us some of his thoughts as well…

Actually everyone from Cape Town – lets get in on this discussion.


~ by John on June 22, 2009.

One Response to “Do you know your city?”

  1. Great exercise
    We started to do this a few years ago as we were encouraging our folk to be more incarnational as a church – who is out there – so that we would know would sort of flesh to cloth the gospel with …
    I am going to do this again with you … even if it is simply my Gospel Community.

    Pity you couldn’t join us at the Barleycorn last night … and let’s get something going at the Seaside Blues …


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