Cities can be beautiful, especially at night when thousands of lights sparkle across the world’s great urban skylines. But as we draw closer, we see more than just city lights. We see millions of people in these massive metropolitan centers. Today approximately four billion people—more than half of the world’s population—live in cities.
When first starting out in ministry, I had the wonderful and challenging opportunity to pastor and serve in evangelism in the metropolitan New York area for seven years. It changed my life forever. Since that time, I’ve always had a strong burden for the cities. There is so much yet to do in mission to the cities.
One day while in New York, I saw graffiti that captures the challenge of living and working in the large cities of the world. It read, “Concrete jungle: A hard life.” While there are many good and bad things about any large city, let’s always remember the people living there—the rich in their penthouses, business people in their offices, merchants in their shops, young professionals in their lofts, students in their dorms, the poor in the streets—all who need Christ and the hope of the Advent message.
I’m delighted that this special issue of Mission 360° focuses on urban mission and how Adventist Mission is reaching out to the people of the cities through the church’s Mission to the Cities emphasis.
In the following pages, you’ll meet Seventh-day Adventists who are making a positive difference in cities by finding creative ways to bring others to Jesus. One such person is Rony, who owned a successful recycling company in Brazil but is now using his unique skills in the ancient city of Cairo, Egypt, to turn the community dump into a beautiful park.
You’ll read about Global Mission pioneers in Lagos, Nigeria, who are reaching business executives by offering health seminars and the unemployed by offering free medical services and job skills training. As follow-up, both groups are given spiritual opportunities and resources.
In the city of Ruse, Bulgaria, you’ll meet Anton, a former martial artist who became a Seventh-day Adventist. After his conversion, Anton no longer wanted to practice martial arts, but he needed to find a new way to make a living. Today he is a successful artisan baker working at The Banquet Table—an Urban Center of Influence.
Across China, millions of people are hearing God’s Word through an innovative radio program, Good Morning, China, run mainly by young people. And you’ll read how two little missionaries in the city of Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan, are helping to make it possible for more children in their city to receive an Adventist education.
This and much more awaits you in the pages of this beautiful, dynamic, and engaging magazine, including an opportunity to become personally involved in reaching people who live in cities. In the section titled, “The Urban Top 10,” listing the top 10 urban metropolises around the world, you’ll have the opportunity to select a city that you can remember on a regular basis in special prayer.
May the Lord bless you as you come face-to-face with the people of the cities, and may He inspire each one of us in what we can do to reach these precious souls for Him in Mission to the Cities, Comprehensive Health Ministry, and Total Member Involvement.