In this episode, we’re talking with Glenn Barth, president and CEO of Good Cities, a community development initiative that advances the gospel of the Kingdom by working with local leaders toward the common good of the city. The mission of Good Cities is to discover, support, and serve vibrant city movements by building processes that create good cities.
Our good friend Reggie McNeal works alongside Glenn in helping community leaders discover the power and collective impact of collaboration. Using the Good City tools, church leaders can help their communities experience God’s common grace in the redemptive features a city has to offer, which in turn leads to the opportunity for people to experience God’s salvation and a future filled with hope.
Learn more about the Good Cities movement by clicking here. Check out Glenn Barth’s book, The Good City, on Amazon by clicking here.
Listen to a related podcast with Reggie McNeal, “What hinders the Kingdom?” by clicking here.
This discussion with Reggie McNeal, missional leadership specialist for Leadership Network and author of numerous books on church leadership, focuses on perhaps the most fundamental issue facing the church today: How the need to promote our church organization actually keeps us from advancing God’s kingdom in our communities.
Our consumer-oriented society demands services, and churches respond by providing an ever-widening range of programs. Those programs, of course, require church members to provide ever more human resources to support them.
Church leaders find themselves under pressure to constantly innovate programs and recruit church members to staff them. And church members wind up getting the idea that the measure of faithfulness is their level of their participation in the organization’s activities.
If you compound this with a gospel message focused primarily on the afterlife — perhaps even a disavowal that the quality of this life has anything to do with salvation — you have a very serious problem. Even lost people understand that Jesus helped people in need and that his true followers do that too.
We try to mobilize church members to witness to people about eternity, but we don’t help them understand how to be salt in a society that is decaying around them. God’s people don’t understand their role in “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
If we aren’t trying to help people live abundant lives now, why would we be surprised when they discount our message about eternal life hereafter? Why would we be surprised when people lose interest in our organization’s activities? Why would we be surprised when even our members drift away?
God’s Revolution is about a world in captivity — and the Creator’s mission to set us free and bring us full circle back to the peace he created us to enjoy. An essential part of that revolution is showing people how to live life the way God designed us to live. If we are to be part of God’s revolution in this world, God’s people must do God’s justice in their communities.