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“Down Under” to the “Big Apple”

October 28, 2014

So, it’s been quite a ride in my world since mid-summer. At the invitation of Ian Shelton, longtime friend and colleague from Toowoomba, I cast vision for growing transformational movements in 12 cities in Australia, Aug 18-Sept 9. The surprise? Stepping into an early morning fellowship of some 40 men and women in Hobart, Tazmania, alive with God’s presence. My message brought confirmation and clarity to their journey together with the “city church.” Most encouraging? Sharing with a group of leaders in Canberra called the “shakers” a challenge to pray weekly for kingdom advance in their city. The Anglican Bishop was first to respond, “When do we start? I’m all IN!” The most fun? Speaking at the first-ever Mayor’s Banquet in Toowoomba on the topic, “People of faith partnering with people of good will, for the good of the city.” So, here’s a shot of me presenting to leaders in Canberra:

Tom, Canberra, John 17

Last week was “full on” in new York City, facilitating the fifth annual City Advance leaders learning community with colleagues Glenn Barth (GoodCities) and George Ordway (Communities, Inc). With 70 delegates from around 20 city movements, we focused on three core principles: 1) Cross sector collaboration, 2) Building a sustainable culture of honor, and 3) People of faith partnering with people of good will. Our most fun exercise: the four different cultures of pastors, para-church, marketplace and prayer mobilizers interacting honestly, asking of one another, what do you most appreciate about _________? What frustrates you most about _________? What counsel would you share with ___________? The room was rather, shall we say, “alive!”

City Advance has already gone regional: our aim is to make this learning experience affordable, accessible and contextual. We gather in Portland, OR Dec 1 & 2 at the Luis Palau Association (PNW-City Impact Roundtable), and Feb 11-13 in Fresno, for the first-ever all California Regional City Advance. If interested in either, email me for details.

City Advance Team 2014

Recently, my wife Terri and me watched the video series, “Living in Christ’s Presence,” with Dallas Willard and John Ortberg, filmed several months before Dallas passed. Here’s a quotation that ignited a fresh vision for city movements:

“When serious followers of Jesus in any particular city become more consciously aware of one another,

and intentional about connecting and learning from one another what they are learning

from Jesus…you have the makings of authentic spiritual awakening.”

Friends, that’s what I hunger for in my own city. That what I long to see happen in any city where I’m engaged. A healthy, citywide Body of Christ advancing God’s kingdom on their knees, humbled at the foot of the Cross.

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