By Jim Taylor
In the last post we began looking at four basic conditions that must be met for a community to change for the better. First, there must be a person or group of people involved. Whenever God wants to accomplish something on the earth, he always raises up a person or a group of like-minded people. Second, this person or group has a desire for things to change, and that desire becomes desperation. God wants us to share his desires for our city, and he gets busy when we get desperate.
Third, this person or group with a desperate desire for change commits to being part of the solution. They are no longer content to be part of the problem, or to accept the problem as unchangeable; they see that a solution is possible and they are the ones willing to try. Instead of saying, “Someone else should do something about it,” they say, “This is my community, this is my problem; I could do something about it.” Instead of assigning blame, they assume responsibility; they hate the problem so much that they are driven to do something about it.
- Nehemiah was living in Susa—800 miles from Jerusalem—when a traveler told him that the exiles “are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire” (Nehemiah 1:3). Although it was far away and he could have been reluctant to leave a good situation, Nehemiah considered Jerusalem’s problem to be his He wept, fasted, prayed, and asked the king to “send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.” He could see a solution, and he wanted to be part of it.
Fourth, those people with the desperate desire who want to be part of the solution take action.
Everyone wishes things were better, and many people have good intentions about helping it get better, but these people actually do something. Their intentions become actions, and their words become deeds.
- God told the exiled Jews in Babylon, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters. . . Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, 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” (Jeremiah 29:4-7). In other words, get busy; do something to make your community better, even if you don’t feel at home there; if it gets better, so do you!
- Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” That’s a City-Changers attitude: You do it while other people are just talking about it.
Cities change when spectators become participants; when wishful desire develops into spiritual desperation; when good intentions are turned into action; and when complaining about the problem stops, and working toward a solution begins.
Why do we call ourselves “City Changers”? Because we want more for our community. We are no longer satisfied with the way things are. We desire what God desires, and we believe transformation can come here. We are crying out, “Lord give us this city, or we die.” We are a group of people daring to dream God’s dream for our communities. Will you join us?