The U40 experiment is an attempt to develop leadership for a citywide movement of the church that would help transform cities with the gospel of the kingdom. The rapid urbanization of the world places urban centers at the forefront of missiological and ecclesiological attention. Urban poverty, homelessness, and social injustice in our cities suggest that the body of Christ must work together to change them to look more like they would if God’s kingdom came on earth as it is in heaven.
This paper will develop three critical components required of leaders of a kingdom movement to transform our cities. First, they need to rediscover an understanding of the church of the city. The fixation on the local church has harmed the ability to work together, and a nebulous understanding of the Universal Church has not helped draw together in any practical ways. I argue that the ‘middle case C’ church’
(MC3) must be developed as a framework for believers in an urban center allowing for synergistic cooperation.
Second, our conception of church must resemble an organic and viral movement that is not held captive to modernistic organizational theories characterized by top-down control. We must inform our understanding of church as a movement with the insights from chaos theory, complex adaptive systems, and living systems. These new perspectives hold tremendous potential for the church and its kingdom mandate.
Finally, leaders of city transformation kingdom movements will be transformational leaders. Following the framework of Bakke Graduate University, these leaders understand and operate from their unique calling, live incarnationally, and constantly learn with a deep awareness of their context.
The latter half of this paper will track the evolution of the U40 experiment, documenting the many ways our organic and viral development took twists and turns, but ultimately produced some powerful relationships of love and trust. I will describe the leaders, events and outcomes from these adventurous two years and hopefully give an accurate sense of our current trajectory.