I got the fun chance to sit through the morning session of Dallas’s City Council yesterday. It’s only the second time I’ve been in that chamber, but it’s a fascinating opportunity to watch the gears turn in the guts of our city.
I also spent last night reading through my new issue of D Magazine, the mag dedicated to all things Dallas. I grew up here and always knew I liked my city, but it’s only been recently that I’ve felt more “invested” and gotten to know it – and love it – better.
Even though I grew up here, I don’t remember much talk at church or youth group about even caring about my city, let alone loving it. That (naturally) didn’t happen in college ministry, either – our “city” was basically the college (which might have felt true even if I didn’t live in a true “college town”)
And yet… we’re supposed to be training up people who will love their locations like Christ would have. This will mean different things for different people. For some, it may just mean knowing their neighbors really well and finding small ways to serve; on the other end of the spectrum, some will work for the city or go into politics or have another focused investment like that. (There’s plenty of room between those poles, too.)
In any case, they have to love their cities.
And yet we’ve got them now, when their true “neighborhood” is almost always just the campus. And it’s often an entirely different world than the city that surrounds it. Being fully missional for them means loving the campus more than it means loving the surrounding city.
So how do we prepare them to love cities later?