Jesus calls us to “go and make disciples” and to love our city so that we might clearly communicate the gospel and see more people come to know him. But what does this look like practically? What does it mean to love our city? Here are 11 practical, gospel-centered ways you can love your city.
1. Reach out to “the least of these” in your city.
Who are the downtrodden, forgotten, or underserved people in your city? Start a mercy ministry to reach out to these groups. Create a transition plan for homeless people from shelters into community. Jesus tells us that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for him.
2. Get involved civically.
Set up a meeting with your mayor or city council members and find out specifically what your city needs. Then rally your church or Community Group to help meet those needs. Start attending your neighborhood association meetings and volunteering your time to make your city better.
3. Throw parties and invite your neighbors.
This could be anything from a get-together in your apartment to a full-scale neighborhood block party. The transient nature of many cities can lead to neighbors barely knowing one another. Sometimes all it takes is to initiate by invitation!
4. Take care of your city’s environment.
Pick a block or neighborhood and clean it up! Own it and take care of it. Organize a Green & Clean event to rally your church and keep your city sparkling.
5. Stay put.
Most cities have a sort of “revolving door” as people move in and out. This is one reason why in places like Seattle most people put little effort into trying to get to know their neighbors. So dig in, stay put, and make an effort to develop your relationships.
6. Give a gift of artistry.
7. Be a positive presence, not a negative one.
Create a city or neighborhood blog that tells stories of hope and progress in your city. Focus on what’s working instead of complaining about what’s not working. Be a part of finding solutions to the problems your city faces.
8. Participate in and help plan and execute your city’s events and festivals.
Seriously, it’s ok to have fun. Enjoying your city and investing in its happiness is a great way to show you love it.
9. Start ministries that address your city’s specific felt or unseen needs.
Rescue girls out of slavery in sex trafficking. Connect your business people with a business ministry that helps them connect and share life together in a way they may not otherwise have the opportunity to.
10. Leaders are readers.
Get a newspaper subscription so that you can keep up with current events. Read up on your city’s history to understand how it started and what historical and cultural forces shaped it into the city it is today. Knowing your city’s past enables you to speak boldly to its context and mindset, because your city’s history shapes its present more than you can possibly imagine.
11. Pray for your city.
We can often forget that God really does listen to our prayers, and that he wants to hear from us. Not only does he hear us, but he acts. Pray that God would change your city. Pray that he would save its citizens. Pray that he would give wisdom to its leaders. Remember that your city’s well-being is your well-being.