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City Gospel Movements Flourishing

June 13, 2017

Mid-2017, as a veteran pioneer/practitioner of citywide movements of unity, prayer and kingdom collaboration, I’m convinced we’re seeing a sovereign, worldwide move of God’s Spirit bringing the Body of Jesus together in authentic John 17 unity in city after city. Some 15 years back, I recall a kitchen conversation with my wife: “Before my active ministry ends, I just want to see a few functional models of a healthy Ephesians 4 Body of Christ up and running across a local community.” Well, we now have hundreds of “city gospel movements” of all sizes and cultural complexity across the US, and many more emerging worldwide.

A recent, tangible cause for encouragement: a breakthrough for persevering kingdom leaders in Paterson, NJ. Regarded as one of the most “challenged urban environments” in the US, Paterson has a painful narrative of social injustice, racial tension, and economic disparity. Invited by colleague George Ordway to facilitate a Leaders Prayer Summit this past May 1 and 2, I invited a courageous cadre of mostly African American and Latino leaders into Psalm 133: “What a beautiful thing it is when brothers dwell (“do life”) together.” I declared them “off duty, and on Shabbat.” Well…in a session focused on praying for their city, the Spirit of God broke in, stirring up confession of mistrust, speaking of forgiveness, blessing and building one another up. There was a palpable, supernatural shifting of the atmosphere in the room. I’d call it “hope,” a fresh gift from God, a quickening of faith that a united, praying, caring group of kingdom-minded leaders could be a corporate conduit for transformational change in Paterson. Here’s a visual:

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On day 2 of the Summit, I heard many comment, “We’ve been praying for a breakthrough like this for 25 years.” I celebrate with these faithful colleagues an “only God” experience. George and I are booked in for a second Summit in October, with a wider invitation list of 50-60.

CITY GOSPEL MOVEMENT NATIONAL TEAM

Another cause for encouragement. This past May, in Estes Park, CO, I met for a third time with six other men, fellow pioneers of the city movement wineskin, to explore how we might better serve leaders of these emerging citywide expressions. Our aim was to deepen relational and professional trust, collaborate on a high level, offering our skills and services to men and women called to catalyze and lead John 17 expressions in their communities. Admittedly, this “gang of 7” are white males, but we had with us in Colorado African American and women leaders of national profile, who will be invited to join our team. Here’s the “city gospel movement gang!”

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August 23 I head back to India for a three week, full-tilt itinerary leading Prayer Summits, casting vision for city movements, consulting with city leadership teams. I’m working with the South Asia City Advance team on a bold vision to see 250 healthy city movements up and running by 2022.

JOIN THE JOURNEY!

If you’d like to stay better connected to this movement, send an email to tntwhite07@gmail.com, with CONNECTION in the subject line. And consider picking up a copy of my recent book, The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements (available at Amazon).

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