Today, I was able to sit in a session with Tim Keller as he gave what seemed to be an unprepared introduction at City+Church at the Gospel Coalition in Chicago. He spoke to the idea of “Urban Church Planting”. As he did so, he gave 7 things that people should master as they plant an Urban Church. These things ranged from becoming an expert in cultural differences to becoming more sensitive to artists and artistry. Now becoming a new church planter myself, I tried to immerse myself in what he was saying. As more and more came out, I found myself comparing his words to urban church planting to our church plant within our town. There was a ton that he said well but, when it came down to it, there was one thing that he said that stuck with me the whole ride home regarding student ministries. It was that one of his reasonings for the 7 things to know is to reach the “City’s Tipping Point.”
The City’s Tipping Point is the point at which Christianity and Christ’s love has such a huge impact on the city that it causes the major city to act differently, talk differently, treat one another differently – in a way that causes people to want to have a piece of Christ’s love. When this happens, people can’t help but to serve one another and love one another with God in mind. This, as a youth pastor, spoke volumes to me when I thought about suburban schools.
Early on, high schools and jr. highs became a major burden on my heart. In youth ministry, we tend to think, “how can we reach the most amount of high school and jr. high students?” Our answer is normally, “start a couple more programs during the week” or “let’s put on a few events during the year, that should be enough.” Yet, when we truly look at how we ought to do ministry we usually say, “We need to bring the Church to them, it works for many churches to bring the church to the neighborhoods.. to be missionaries inside the neighborhoods.” So why not change the culture within student ministries? Let’s bring church to the schools. More importantly, let’s unleash students on fire for God through the schools to bring the hope of Christ to their friends, in school. Let us send out missionaries inside the schools to reveal God in class rooms and in their sports. Let us do it in a way where the schools reach a tipping point where their friends and teachers can’t help but say, “I want whatever it is they’ve got!”
This is an idea that has been implemented over the last couple of years through 17 different high schools in the cook county and lake county areas near Chicago, IL. It’s one that brings the church to the schools and changes students lives in the most incredible ways. If you would like more information on this, please feel free to contact me here. Why not bring all schools to a tipping point?