In Western Europe, the church is facing major changes. A century ago, this continent was sending missionaries, but nowadays it has become a mission field, especially in her cities where secularization has a stronghold and the church is pushed more and more to the margin. Meanwhile, problems in society are mounting, like care becoming too expensive, migration challenging the social cohesion, and the gap growing between the haves and have-nots.
Christians are searching how to respond. In the evangelical world, there is an increasing discontent about the lingering idea of being a good Christian: Bible-studying one’s way up to God, while also climbing the ladder in the aim for growth in career, houses, and church buildings; meanwhile, supporting missionaries and projects ‘out there.’ Many of these Christians are wondering if this concept is all there is, are
becoming aware that this concept won’t turn the tide, and are starting to re-evaluate their beliefs.
As a result, the idea about mission is changing. In my city – the Dutch city of Rotterdam – an emerging and growing urban mission movement is detected. These urbanites are going down the ladder: submerging in the different cultures in the city with God’s mission-DNA in their veins. According to many theologians, mission is the mother of theology, so what motivates these emerging urban missionaries? What is their
This idea will be further fleshed out in this academic piece and the attached media project, a book called God in the City. This project is a result of my own search over the past twenty years of how to express faith in daily life in the context of a Western European city.