One of the most profound ways we experience heaven on earth is through city transformation. In Isaiah 58, we see that God has designed us to be the conduits of this restoration as the Scripture declares, “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls” (Isaiah 58:12, NIV).
Indeed, this is our task at hand: to partner with heaven to see our cities saved. What a privilege to be used by God in this way! But where does this transformation begin?
City transformation begins with a lifestyle of loving the poor. As a leader of a supernatural school, we encourage you to create a school culture that cultivates honor and value for the poor. We believe this is a key to seeing radical transformation in both your school body and your city.
Love is the Key
The Bible is very clear that God’s will for every believer is to actively love the poor, the broken, and the oppressed. He set this standard when He said,
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6-7, NKJV)
What a powerful and challenging passage! In the life of Jesus, we see the perfect response to this command. His ministry was a constant expression of grace and mercy to sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers. Basically anyone who was a societal outcast, Jesus had a heart for! Through this unreserved and sometimes offensive love, He holistically transformed people’s lives to such a degree that they were empowered to make an impact in their spheres of influence. As demonstrated by Jesus, this is the power of love: the last become first, the broken become whole, and the weak become strong.
As believers, the Holy Spirit has anointed us to love as Jesus loved. In Isaiah 61, God describes how He will use once-broken people to bring healing and restoration to the earth: “[The broken] will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” (Isaiah 61:4, NIV)
We invest in city transformation as we invest in the poor.
By building our communities as havens for the lost, we will see them enter into the Body of Christ, find true healing, and be used by God to bring further restoration to our cities. Such transformation is the power and manifestation of the Gospel!
Just imagine—what if that homeless man you drive by everyday met Jesus, experienced healing in community, and stepped into his destiny to open up a coffee shop, or a homeless shelter, or perhaps become the next city mayor? God is waiting for the church to love the poor so He can transform our cities. As the Scripture says, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27, NIV).
Below is a testimony from one of our staff members who shares about loving the poor in his city. His heart was further stirred with passion to bring lost sons and daughters into the family of God as a result of his experience at a supernatural school:
Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to do some ministry at a motel in downtown Redding. This motel is located in one of the roughest corners of our city. There is a very large homeless population wandering the streets, drug deals happening regularly, and all kinds of darkness occurring in the shadows. It is a terrible and beautiful place: terrible because humans were never meant to live this way and beautiful because even though these dear ones are lost, the unfailing love of Jesus is stronger! I am discovering that God’s love is so wild and joyful! He is unafraid of our brokenness and so willing to meet us in the middle of our messes. As I’ve been spending time at the motel and developing relationships with those who live there, God has showed up time and time again. I have learned to connect with His heart of compassion as I enter into the brokenness of the lives around me. And what’s more, these people have actually become my friends as I’ve realized they are not so different than me—we all need Jesus. I’ve experienced God’s presence in my life in a greater way as I’ve simply loved the person in front of me.
To help you create a culture and structure within your school to love your city well, here are some ways to activate your students in a lifestyle of reaching out to the lost:
- Ask students to study, reflect, and share what they learn about loving the poor throughout the Bible in small groups.
- Have your students research the needs within your city. Ask them to connect with local organizations that are serving the poor and find out how your school can support them.
- Organize an outreach where your students have the opportunity to love and serve the poor.
- Schedule a time of intercession for the lost in your city.
- Encourage your students to stop and talk with people as they go about their day, inviting Holy Spirit to lead them to people that need love.
We believe that as we love the poor, we will taste heaven on earth in our cities. As you lead your school, may you be inspired, encouraged, and strengthened to reach out to the poor in a fresh way and see your city transformed like never before.