This dissertation addresses the issue of “Upgrading of slums: Empowering the urban poor in Lagos, Nigeria.” Questions such as, “Why are the slums in deplorable conditions? What are the churches, parachurch organizations, NGOs, public/private sectors and the government doing to transform the city of Lagos, Nigeria?,” received paramount attention as they generated many responses from the interview conducted during the research. To address issues raised in the process of carrying the research, the following constituted part of the discussion:
- Cities are intentionally designed by God as strategic places of meeting with people who otherwise could have not seen any reason to draw closer to God either as a result of affluences or due to abject poverty.
- Considering Luke 4:18, it is expedient that God’s desire for the poor in the cities is to liberate them, show them love and deliver them from the power of the devil, giving them the shalom of God.
- All Christians should pray and seek the shalom of the cities where God has located them. It is important to seek the peace of the cities in which Christians live, because in the peace of the city such Christians would have peace (Jer. 29:7).
- Christians are identified in the Bible as city changers and sustainers, therefore, they are charged with the responsibility of transforming the cities to the glory of God.
- Transforming the cities and, slums and empowering the poor who dwell in the cities is an urgent need facing society today. City transformation is important if Christians are to combat crime, injustices and give hope to poor.
- City changers must be intentionally agents of transformation in all ramifications.
- A theology of the city that does not take into consideration the sovereign plan of God for the salvation of the city dwellers is a faulty theology.
- The Church exists as an agent of transformation and as such, it is a requirement that the Church interacts with the society around her. Living in isolation of the needs of the surrounding society of the Church defeats the plan of God for the expansion of his kingdom and hope of the common man.
- Incarnational and holistic ministry that is focused on total transformation of lives should be the integral message of the Church in this age.
All the points made above have been adequately supported in the dissertationthrough the literature reviews, research and interviews conducted. The need for the transformation of slums and empowering the urban poor cannot be replaced by anything else. It is both a challenge and an obligation to the Church of God who happened to bethe only spiritual representative of God here. If God is love, then the Church should be able to show love to the needy and the poor in the cities. Parachurch bodies, NGOs, private and public sectors and the government are all called to do likewise. When all themajor groups in the city come together in a network that is intentionally structured and plan and hold consultations for the city, then transformation is inevitable.