God cares deeply for cities, and he cares about our city. Our work as Christians should contribute to our community's well-being. City Renewal is about restoration. Renewal takes ministries of mercy, compassion, justice, place-making, vocation, and calling...seriously. In fact, "renewal means to be restored like shalom." Shalom refers to God's kind of peace, a peace where human flourishing is made possible. God's people are called to be agents of restoration and renewal in the city. We see an Old Testament example of this in Jeremiah 29:4-7. The people of God are told to seek the shalom of ancient Babylon, even while they were strangers in a foreign land: "But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (v.7) The flourishing of God's people was symbiotically connected to the flourishing of the city.
God's work of renewal in us restores us to be the hands and feet of Jesus, wherever he sends us, so that we can be about God's restorative work - his mission - in the world and in our communities. As we grow in Christ, our renewal propels us to bless and serve our communities in creative and meaningful ways through our families and through our vocations. In fact, churches have the opportunity to serve many needs of the city: to help restore relational, emotional, and physical needs; not merely "spiritual" needs. This is part of what it looks like to be about city renewal. It has been suggested that one of the most powerful ways "to show people the truth of Christianity is to serve the common good." When our works don't line up with our speech, people tune out and our credibility is questioned. Vocation, service, mercy, justice - all of these actions, or deeds, flow from hearts that have been captured by Jesus and compelled by his love.
As Christians, we are called to serve the common good in genuinely meaningful ways because we are disciples of Jesus.