The last few days, I have spent time in Ezra and Nehemiah and have been reminded that the desire of God for us all is to have a transformation of our hearts – not just our churches and culture. I have been struck by what has gone on in our world over the last few years, the racial tension that has torn our cities apart, the political turmoil in our country, and a pandemic affecting our world. Alongside all of that, the church has closed its doors and then reopened them with a possible change for the future. The church had to pivot and change in 2020, and many are redefining themselves for the future. What is God up to, and what is the Lord asking of us? For Ezra and Nehemiah, God’s hand was upon them, willing them to rebuild the Temple and walls of God’s holy city. What will the Temple (the church) and our cities look like if God’s will is followed in our time?

The churches in our city are changing, and we have seen God’s hand at work. The churches, and the people that make them up, are different today than two years ago. And, even the way we do church has changed, embracing online services and Bible apps. The Church seeks to balance and figure out the new normal for the future, and the pastors and leaders have had to make extensive and often complicated changes. The pastors are learning to pivot their styles and methods to focus on the quality of the message, and they have turned things over to the Lord to transform the people’s hearts. Only a God with a sovereign plan to be fulfilled would do it to us all simultaneously.

Our cities and their culture are changing, and we must understand the times we live in and seek the peace and prosperity of our cities. We need to change how we see our cities, viewing them through the lens of God’s word. Our culture is changing quickly, pushing God to the side, but we must constantly seek to keep God as the center. Our cities need the voice of God and what he is asking us to influence. The values and virtues of cities will be lost if we are not actively seeking to infuse and lead them with the values and virtues of Christ and his word.

Kingdom transformation for the Church will come about when we put our hearts back into the message of Christ and live out the whole gospel with the whole Church, involving every part of our whole world. It starts with me at home, in my community, with my neighbor. It involves you speaking up for the oppressed and hurting and us all speaking out to this Godless world desperate for the transformation of the heart.

CSM is a unique place to build bridges for churches from around the city to work together around a vision for the transformation of communities, churches, and ourselves. We bring unique relationships together, break down walls traditionally divided, and build the Kingdom in unity around Kingdom values and the virtues of shalom. CSM has a vision to see the Church of God united in transforming the people of God by using whatever relationships and resources God brings into our path. CSM is gospel-driven, and we know that the truth that is found in Jesus is what transforms lives. Will you join us in this mission that will change lives together.