The C3 theme for the month of August has been city transformation, which is the focus of the C3 vision, “To mobilize the Christian community for city transformation.” We understand this vision is humanly impossible and the only way the vision can be realized is through the power of the Holy Spirit. There is a tremendous amount of carnage on the road of good intentions left by believers who have tried and failed to see transformation come in their own strength. However, I would like to look at a successful city transformation project in the Bible that I believe reflects the heart of our Heavenly Father to transform our cities today.
The Journey Begins with Passion
The book of Nehemiah provides a notable story of how a city can be transformed and the methodology God provided to realize success. Nehemiah held the position of cupbearer for the king and the king noted Nehemiah was in a downcast mood. Nehemiah told the king he had a burden for the city of Jerusalem because the walls that surrounded the city had been torn down and the city was vulnerable to attack. The journey of city transformation for Nehemiah started with a burden for the city that developed a passion to transform the city.
This passion led him to use his influence with the king to gain favor and coordinate the resources necessary to begin the project. He then went to Jerusalem to pray and fast to seek God’s plan for the city. Understanding God’s plan, developing the blueprint God has prepared for us and using the influence He has provided for us are critical components for success in city transformation.
Mobilizing the Christian Community
The word mobilize means to prepare and organize for active service. In “active service,” each of us has a role to play based on the passions, gifts and talents He has placed within us. The Apostle Paul stated this in Ephesians 2:10, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that He has prepared in advance for us.” This is not about us doing more, but about us doing what we were created to do and each of us doing our part, which should not be a heavy burden.
This is the revelation God gave Nehemiah, each person should build the section of the wall where they live. In C3, we call this the Christian community which is made up of alliances, businesses, churches, and individuals that operate in their area of expertise and passion to do together what we can not accomplish individually. This is the power of unity that we see expressed throughout the Bible, which is Kingdom building. The opposite of Kingdom building is empire building, which seeks to promote uniformity and creates division not unity.
For City Transformation
Jeremiah 29:7 states, “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” This verse reminds us that wherever God has placed us, we are to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the city, which is to pursue city transformation. As Christians, we should use our influence to positively impact our communities and make them better places as each of us walks out the calling on our lives. This may be serving through alliances (non-profits), businesses, churches, or as individuals working for an organization or in the home. Wherever you are called, you are to do it with excellence as the Apostle Paul states in Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
True Power is Required
The challenge with a God sized vision is we try to figure out how to accomplish this through our own human plans and strength. As an entrepreneur and strategist, I am guilty of this and I am learning to put aside my own natural ability to get things done through our true power source, the Holy Spirit. This is difficult for me, but I understand that our Heavenly Father can accomplish more through me using His power than I can accomplish by my own strength. This is the message God gave to a king in Zechariah 4:6, “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
The Call to Action is About Alignment
There is a responsibility to do our part in the pursuit of city transformation and the following call to action is how we can each do our part:
- Prayer – Nehemiah’s plan started with a passion to see the city transformed and prayer for wisdom, a plan, and resources to accomplish the plan.
- Partner – We are not created to do it alone or act as an instrument of division, but to partner and join together as the Christian community to be instruments of hope and encouragement so that our cities prosper.
- Participate – We are to do our part in the area of our calling to contribute whether as an alliance, business, church or individual.
We appreciate being on this journey with you and look forward to the work our Heavenly Father will continue through each of us as we do our part for city transformation.
Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.