More than half the world’s population lives in cities, yet the Adventist work in the cities languishes.
God has a heart for cities. Speaking of Nineveh, He asked, “Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:11, NIV). When Jesus came to this earth, He “had compassion on [the people] because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36, NIV).
Jesus showed how to minister. He mingled with people, showed sympathy, ministered to needs, won confidence, and bid them to follow Him.
Pastor Wayne Krause helped plant a church in an area north of Sydney, Australia, where thousands of families live who have never entered a church. One day a young man asked two women from the church to take him to a methadone clinic for treatment. They agreed, and then prepared this young heroin addict a hot meal.
The young man started attending church. Each Sabbath afternoon members drove him to his methadone treatments. And when he had to appear in court, several church members went to support him. After the trial the young man’s mother approached the members who were helping her son. She asked if she could visit the church.
A few weeks later a group of people clad in black leather and heavy metal entered the church and sat in the front row. Pastor Krause changed his sermon to the great controversy between good and evil.
After worship Pastor Krause met the visitors and learned they were the family of the young addict. They had come to see what kind of church showed such love to their son and brother. They asked Pastor Krause how they could be on God’s side. He explained the plan of salvation, and they prayed to make Jesus the center of their lives.
None of them had a Bible, and the only Bibles Pastor Krause could find were in the lost and found. He offered them to his new friends and showed them where to start reading. One young man, a singer in a rock band, received a tattered Bible. Pastor Krause offered to find him a nicer one, but as that young singer gently stroked the Bible, he said, “No, please, I’ve never had a Bible. It’s mine.”
Every city in the world is filled with people hungry for something better. They are sons and daughters of God, but they don’t know it yet. Our commission is to go into the entire world to share God’s love. That includes the cities. They’re waiting for us; what are we waiting for?
Gary Krause is director of Adventist Mission at the General Conference.