Called to the City
Leader: Boris Borisov, Pacific Keep Church
Vision: The calling of the church has always been to "go and make disciples." When the apostles started implementing this mission they started in Jerusalem and moved outwards to Judea, Samaria, and "the ends of the earth." The church today is also called to go outward into the world, modeling the love of God through community. From a practical perspective this movement should start at the local level – within the neighborhood and City the church resides. For many churches however, this movement has been delegated to overseas mission trips. While being involved globally is important, the entry for participation is limited to a select few leaving the majority of the congregation out of direct missional activity. The Church and the City Learning Community will encourage churches to get involved in the life of their neighborhood and city through intentional engagement.
Scripture calls people to get involved in the local context by seeking shalom, praying for leaders, and loving their neighbors. It is a challenge to uphold these values when many don’t even know their neighbors. With the advent of the automobile, more and more time is spent commuting between the various "boxes" of life (home, office, Costco, etc.). The result is more people are disconnected from their immediate surroundings. According to a finding from City Observatory, "about one third of Americans say they have never interacted with their neighbors." 1 If the church is to fulfil the Great Commission, it is imperative it begins to reverse this trend by starting from its backyard and then moving outwards to the city at large.
Calling Community Goal: The Church in the City Learning Community strives to help churches in Spokane to rediscover their missional calling by training participants to use their God given talents in the context of their current neighborhood, vocation, and city.
Learning Content: This program will first take a broad look at the theological foundation and mandate for the church to be missional. Next, participants will learn how to conduct a "cultural exegesis" of their neighborhood. This will include learning how to access demographic information, learning about the importance of "place," and learn how to map the built environment. Next, the group will spend some time hearing from leaders in the City already working to improve Spokane. This will be a mixture of officials, program coordinators from City Hall, neighborhood council leaders, and others. The purpose is to see what God is already up to in the City. Finally, participants will be challenged to consider how their church can either plug into a current initiative and/or create their own utilizing the vocation, talents, and gifting of their church. Participants will have the ability to propose a project/initiative and receive funding for implementation.