“I love you. I always have loved you. I always will love you.”
These words opened the Leeds conference as Tony Hodges recalled the affirmation he received from God when he first began following Christ.
It isn’t always common to have a gathering of city influencers, leaders and business people discussing love, but the Gospel doesn’t allow us to escape it’s reach and transforming power.
If love was the context then restoration was the theme, as Lord Wei reminded the one hundred plus who gathered of the immutable words of the prophet Isiah to ‘restore the waste cities’.
City Vision conferences aren’t just places for knowledge and expertise sharing, although those things happen, they create a space for us to engage with God’s heartbeat for our cities in real time. While strategy can change things, it takes love to transform.
Throughout the day we heard from city influencers, church leaders and business people who have been compelled by love to pay the price necessary to begin seeing the change they desire to see in their city. Ken Janke from Global advance put it best when he effused that often we are called beyond the ‘cutting edge’ to the edge where we are misunderstood and falling over, ‘The Tripping edge’, yet it is on this edge that we are able to boast in our weaknesses as Jesus is glorified in our cities.
We were also privy to some of the underlying principles that underpin many of the structures and groups who seek to see their cities transformed and His Kingdom Come.
A business owner from Sheffield who was present expressed how he’d experienced a huge paradigm shift in terms of his understanding of role the Ecclesia/Body of Christ in a city. Eugene Ajayi who has been involved in city transforming projects for decades in Aylesbury said that what the Body of Christ needs is physiotherapy, a sometimes painful process that ensures all the joints and limbs work together!
Another huge takeaway was the impact of the Ecclesia delivering city-wide festivals. We were given two clear examples in the guise of Motofest in Coventry and the Bristol Housing Festival. Two very different festivals that have helped shift the perception of the church in their cities as they have sought to engage with the needs of the city rather than engage the city in their programs and agendas.
With thanks to our friends at Global Advance who helped make this conference possible.
It’s not too late to book onto our conference in Coventry: Click here to reserve your place - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk