What should be the role of churches like PCPC in the city? How can this reformed, evangelical, suburban church impact the city of Dallas? What message can PCPC bring to the city of Dallas that would bring hope, healing, and transformation?
Dallas is a very diverse city. This diversity cuts across social, economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural lines. There is evidence of inner-city life in places such as East Dallas, the Bottoms in South Dallas, West Dallas, the projects as near as Cedar Springs, and other areas that many would tend to avoid.
While there are indicators that many residents are returning to the urban areas of this vast city, there are others who view urban Dallas in a skeptical light. These Metro dwellers tend to accentuate the crime statistics, the amount of homelessness, the hurried pace of urban life, and other factors that would paint the city as a place from which to flee.
For many Americans, the density and diversity of city-life pose a major challenge to the ideal of suburban life. The reported social ills of the city, especially the inner-city, only seem to heighten these concerns. C. J. Vergara observes: “Lacking a shared vision of the value of our cities, we accept their destruction and fragmentation as inevitable.”
In Acts 1:4, Jesus commanded His disciples to wait for His Holy Spirit in the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, if one recalls, was a place that almost all of Jesus’ disciples would have loved to keep in their “rear-view mirrors.” It was here where Judas betrayed Jesus and took his own life; Peter publicly denied knowing Jesus on three successive occasions; and the others fled when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane.
In the history of the New Testament, from Pentecost on and with the enabling of the Holy Spirit, this place of hurt and shame, Jerusalem, became the place of healing. At the end of Acts 2, Luke records how the young church had become a respite for so many, through its worship, work, and witness—and ultimately the healer of the city. Thousands throughout Jerusalem joined together to minister to the whole person and the entire community. This same church became a model for all future congregations as it became the organizing agent for the overall well-being of the city.
The message that the Lord has entrusted to His church is the very one that He delivered in Luke 4:18-19, a citation from the Jubilee message in Isaiah 61:1-4. Note verse 4, “They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.” Here, Jesus links this Good News to the poor with the promise of urban renewal. This gospel empowers the least, the lost, and the lonely ones among us to actively participate in God’s redemption of a city like Dallas.
We in Urban Ministries challenge you, our members and friends, to submit your lives to our Savior and abide in His work within the lives of so many in our city. We invite each of you to prayerfully consider how you can embrace the mission and vision of PCPC, so that as one healing agent, together we could extend the transforming presence of the Kingdom of God to the many diverse communities throughout the city of Dallas.
May God the Holy Spirit revive His great works within us, among us, and through us, and all for the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ.