The vision of City Reach is a transformed city – discipled to Christ (Matt 28:19).
Transformation is seen as a city wide movement from fear to faith, pessimism to prosperity, isolation to community, inequity to justice, relational breakdown to wholeness, alienation to reconciliation, impurity to holiness, godlessness to godliness (Titus 2:11-14).
Transformation requires that all dimensions of life in the city be saturated with the presence of Jesus (Eph 4:10). This includes the vertical strata of government, finance, business, law, education, marriage, family, religion, sport and so on, as well as the horizontal dimensions of the geographical expanse of every particular neighbourhood.
To facilitate the development of unity through relationships where people pray together.
The impact of these relationships will penetrate, as widely and deeply as possible, the city of Perth with the gospel of Christ.
City Reach does not seek to be a substitute for already existing networks but aims to aid the synergistic cross pollination of both current and emerging networks.
1. The Call to Unity
We believe that Jesus is issuing anew a call to his church today to receive that which he prayed for on the eve of his death. The unity of John 17:20-26 is not an abstract unity of an invisible sort but of the same order as that between the Father and the Son. This is a unity of words and works, dynamically present to the world and effecting reconciliation with God.
Such a functional and practical unity is indispensable to the completion of the work of God in the city (John 17:4). The full range of the gifts and graces resident in the whole church in the city are needed in harmonious interplay if the whole city is to be penetrated with the love of Christ and reached with the gospel (John 13:34-35; Rom 15:18-19).
2. The Place of Prayer
Prayer is a foundational expression of our unity as a church, with God as our Father, Jesus as our Head and the Holy Spirit as our life-giver (Eph 4:4-6). In prayer, we express our absolute dependence upon God, and together become aware of the work of the Spirit in one another’s lives.
In that union we ask that the kingdom of God come on earth as it is in heaven (Matt 6:10). As our hearts are united together in the mutual love that is expressed in praying (Col 3:15), our agreement on earth releases the power of heaven in our midst (Matt 18:18-20).
3. The Church in the City
The New Testament expresses location as the only basis for differentiation within the body of Christ – as we are all one in Christ, segregation on the base of race, gender or class as a criterion of belonging is excluded (Gal 3:28).
The letters to the churches in the New Testament cities are therefore always addressed to the whole body of believers in a place; Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Smyrna, and so on. In this theological or spiritual context, the local church is the church of the city .
If Christ is to reach a city, the church in that city must possess a consciousness of itself as one city-church. It will take a city wide church to reach a city with the gospel, because the fullness of Christ for the city resides in the church that lives in that city.
City Reach therefore does not conceive of itself as an additional entity of a hierarchical or umbrella sort to be superimposed on the church in Perth, but a vehicle by which the body of Christ in our city may express the fullness of its life together on behalf of the total community.
By the expression of our common life, we may in this way seek together to disciple the city to Christ.
4. The Local Church
Local church and city-church are not two types of church, but two expressions of the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church”. In regular parlance, “local church” is the corporate presence of Christ in a particular neighbourhood – Balga, Dalkeith, Midland and so on. City-church is local church considered in relation to the life of a city. As geographical expansion introduces no essential change in the nature of the church, local church and city-church are essentially one.
Local church differs from city-church however, in that the kingdom of God in the city presents itself most immediately to the local community through the local gathering of believers. The local church possesses a visible continuity in time and space which the city-church does not possess.
As two modes of expressing the one body of Christ in the world, the two expressions of church share a common identity and indissoluble unity that should always be expressed in love. As this happens on every scale, the prayer of Jesus that the world would know he was sent by the Father is realised (John 17:23).
The particular contribution of City Reach to this reality is to facilitate the release of the unifying power of the gospel into every local church situation. This power is present in the whole church for the whole city. It is not simply a matter of scale, “bigger is better”, but a tangible demonstration that the power of the gospel is of a quality to transform all creation (Matthew 28:18; 2Cor 5:17).
5. Whole Church Gatherings
Whole church gatherings, like Church Together and Prayer Together, are occasional visible manifestations of the reality of the oneness of the body of Christ in the city of Perth. They give opportunity for the broader expression of the church to unite in prayer, praise, and the faithful hearing of the Word of God (Acts 2:46a). The impact of inspirational gatherings of this sort will flow through to energise the local church with renewed passion and vision for discipling their locality.
As public gatherings outside the precinct of church buildings these meetings image to the wider community, and to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places, the oneness of the city-church (Eph 3:10). This has the effect of salt and light as it witnesses to the oneness of the new humanity created by the victory of Christ (Eph 2:15 -16).
6. The Role of Pastors
Pastors are given the grace of the ascended Christ (Eph 4:7ff.) to exercise oversight in his body (Acts 20:28; 1Peter 5:1-4). In their charge from the exalted Head to care for and protect the flock of God, they have the dual call to work within their own congregation and to effectively network in ways which will ensure that the whole body in the city builds itself up in love (Eph 4:16).
Neither dimension of body life, local or city-wide, can grow to its fullness without the other. In bringing this about, pastors may be described as “gate keepers”; those who possess the enabling to ensure that the children of God are adequately nurtured and empowered to reach out into their relational spheres in love, both locally and across the city.
Pastors’ networks, which embrace prayer, conferencing, resource sharing, strategizing and so on, are ways in which pastors can be edified in these roles.
7. The Role of Lay People
Although the whole church is in fact the laos of God (Acts 15:14; 1Peter 2:9 etc.), this reference is to those who spend their vocational life within the non-Christian community. The command to fill up the earth with the divine presence, and to exercise godly dominion over all the spheres of creation, is a command that can only be fulfilled by the mass of the people of God who live, move and have their daily being in these spheres (Gen 1:28; Heb 2:5-9). This presence is that of the life of the ascended Lord Jesus (Eph 1:22; 4:10) working through his bride to subject all things to himself and, by subjugating all his enemies, to bring in the kingdom where God is all in all (1Cor 15:25-28).
8. Whole City Penetration
Whole City Penetration is effected when believers in every sphere of life; mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, educators, labourers, housewives, judges, students, police, executives and on and on, manifest the transforming power of the life of Jesus in every relationship of life in which they have been set by the divine Head (1Cor 3:21b-22). In this way, the power of the ascended Christ brings about a city transformation (cf. Acts 19:23ff.).
9. The City Reach Servant Leadership Team
This team will be a group of men and women called by God to facilitate the above vision in the city in which they live. This will be a primary focus of their ministry. They are not to be thought of as “over” others (cf. 1Cor 4:9) but as servants of the whole church in the city (1Cor 4:1; 2Cor 4:5 etc). Humility will be the visible mark of this call to serve (Acts 20:19; 1Peter 5:5). If these persons are called by God to minister to the church in the city, then they are not only God’s ambassadors but also representatives of the city-church (Acts 20:4-5; Rom 15:25-26).
10. The Blessing of the Church in the City
The fullness of the blessing of Christ is related not only to the impartation of the charisma of the risen Lord through designated ministries, but to the mutual trust and regard exercised between those ministries and the city-church (Rom 1:11-12; 15:29). It is completely essential therefore that, for the proper functioning of the City Reach servant leadership team, this team be the recipients of the broadest possible recognition and blessing for the task to which God has called them; this must, by nature, be at the instigation of the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:1-3).
- Increased interaction between networks
- Increased numbers of people praying together
- Suburbs e.g Strategic mobilisation of intercessory prayer groups in the city
- Education: imparting vision, inspiration, motivation
- Increased numbers of local churches+ working together in mission
- Providing leadership for the intercessory movement
1. The development of a dedicated Perth World Mission and Prayer Centre:
- This would be a representation of the united will of the church in Perth to engage in mission in all its dimensions (spiritual, social, material). It would provide a point of integration for the various missionary societies, parachurch and local church /denominational spheres committed to world evangelisation.
- It would be a mission – prayer centre, not viewing these as two separate realities, but recognising that prayer is internal to mission and that outreach is the primary impulse of prayer (this is the reality expressed in John 17).
- It would engage in research and coordination. Part of its work would be the construction of a 4 dimensional space-time grid representing the state of the city socially, economically, ethnographically, demographically, ecclesiologically, etc. in the present and into the projected future. The coordination dimension would include concerted and targeted prayer both locally, nationally and globally. Mobilisation and distribution of resources, collecting and communicating information would be involved across the various geographical spheres employing the resources of modern technology and all forms of media.
- All of the above would respect the essential continuity between local and global mission as represented by “Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth.”
2. The multiplication and connection of networks:
- A compassion network linking those already engaged in this work to increase effectiveness through united prayer and resource sharing.
- A business ministry network linking already existing associations and helping to resource new avenues of outreach and sevice e.g. business Alpha.
- A multicultural network connecting the various ministries and pastors in the city from diverse ethnic backgrounds, assisting them by facilitating resourcing and relational support.
- An indigenous leaders network committed to prayer, unity and reconciliation.
3. The fostering of Pastors’ Prayer Fellowships
- A goal of regular pastors meetings for prayer in every municipality in Perth.
- Concerted prayer for the region in which the local churches are situated.
- Encouragement of pastors’ groups to meet with and pray for local government authorities and other community areas e.g. schooling, police.
- Encouragement of local pastors to work together in mission.
4. Networking in prayer across the city
- A goal of a regular prayer cell in every suburb of Perth bringing together people across churches who live in the same locality.
- The task of these cells is to pray for their suburb. This may use local knowledge, and/or information forwarded from the Mission and Prayer Centre or supplied by the local pastors fellowship.
- The development of a PrayerNet across the city, with each municipality having a prayer coordinator who would meet with the pastors’ fellowship on a regular basis.
5. City wide consultations
- The City Reach team should consult regularly with liaison persons representing the heads of churches and/or with the heads of churches as occasion arises in relation to major projects.
- The City Reach team will refer as appropriate to an advisory group representing interested and supportive parties, such as other city wide leaders and key influencers.
6. The construction of a CityReach Data Base within the churchinperth.com website.
- This site would list the following data:
- contact details of participating pastors
- details of participating churches
- details of the location of citywide/regional and suburban prayer meetings :both of pastors and others
- contact details of participating networks
- The site would enable identification, communication and assistance across the city, mobilisation of prayer and other resources etc.
A Diagrammatic Representation of the Goal of “City Reach”
Christ “fills all things” (Eph 4:10)
Christ centred and world focused Christians penetrate the sectors of society in a mutually supportive way through a network (CityNet) which is co-extensive with the life of the city.
This diagram is not exhaustive – the spheres of art, sport, environment, etc. are omitted.
The radiating lines represent the expression of the life of Christ through his body by means of the embodiment of biblical values of service, sacrifice, leadership, and so on.