Questions for the Urban Church

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/letthechurchsayamen/images/church_top.jpgA colleague of mine who pastors an urban congregation recently asked me for some discussion questions about churches in the city.  Here's what I came up with:

(1) What keeps churches from working together? (Be honest now.)

(2) How does the act of churches working together manifest God's story to each church and to the worlds around them?

(3) To what extent can churches work together with other religious or secular institutions? When can/should it not?

(4) Where are urban churches, in the aggregate, richer in resources (not necessarily monetary) than suburban churches?

(5) Where urban churches are, in the aggregate, poorer in resources (monetary or otherwise) than suburban churches, how can that become an opportunity and not a constraint to doing God's work?

(6) How can churches "help" those in need in ways that are actually not helpful? (e.g. reinforcing bad patterns of dependence) What kinds of sensitivities must churches have when trying to serve? How can those in need be "served" by being activated into serving?

At the risk of being too cerebral, I think that mulling over these kinds of issues is important for churches that want to make a lasting and impactful impression on the cities they serve.   It is all too easy to become reactive - to congregants' preferences and residents' wounds and citywide ills - that you are doing without stepping back and making sure you are doing the right things the right ways.  Again, one can become too inactive, to be sure; but action without thought can easily lead to burnout and chaos.  Here's hoping urban churches activate their minds and their hearts and their hands and their feet, for the sake of their cities and for the glory of their God. 
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