Tonight I will light thirty arctic ice lanterns that line our property in honor of those whose lives are brightening our world by working for and, at times, suffering for peace, justice, and good will to all. In short they are doing the work of community transformation and creating good cities. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” His words speak to our capacity for good.
The people on this year’s list are not the names of famous people. The mostly quiet nature of their work does not catch the eye of the media, yet their lights shine brightly as they shape our world. Jesus went on to say, “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds glorify your Father in heaven.”
Here’s the list:
Ray Bakke, Jeff Bass, Stephanie Butler, Steve Capper, Reid Carpenter, Richard Coleman, Corey DeBoar, Kathy Dudley, John Evans, Mark Ford, Tracy and Eric Hagman, Chris Handley, Jim Herrington, Louis King, Jeff Kreiser, Jeff Martin, Scott Myers, Kevin Palau, John Perkins, Arthur Rouner, Mike Sharrow, Barbara Simpson-Epps, Chad Schwitters, Greg and Deb Snell, Eric Swanson, Rebecca Walls, Sam Williams, and Neddie Winters.
City movements in large cities with large numbers of Christians present unique challenges for leaders of city movements. The church is usually highly decentralized with many different approaches to ministry and worship. Each congregation and ministry are autonomous in pursuing their respective missions. One of the exciting developments in our time is that many of these groups are coming together for synergistic efforts that will impact key areas that help leaders of cities address needs and move toward a strategic vision.
On the first Friday of each month I meet with a cohort of international leaders on the Global Urban Leaders Conference Call. It is an hour filled with stories of what works in the field of grass tops city movements of Christian leaders working with people of good will to impact their respective cities. Last Friday, December 6, Gary Kinnaman (pictured at right), Billy Thrall (pictured below), and I were asked to talk about the city movement in Phoenix. Gary is serving as Pastor-At-Large, sent by the church he served for over twenty years to serve Christ, and to network the church in Greater Phoenix. Billy is an urban pastor who works with ministries, business, and government leaders to do community development work. Both are strategic spiritual leaders, strong networkers, and articulate communicators.