Cities Need Faith

On October 23, 2014, over 1500 Christian leaders from 250 cities and 8 countries convened at the Marriott Marquis Time Square for Movement Day, the annual one-day event hosted by The New York City Leadership Center. This year’s event represented a significant milestone in that it was held for the fifth consecutive year and not only continued its practice of catalyzing leaders and fostering collaboration and unity, but it also celebrated several initiatives that have been birthed or accelerated as a result of the annual event.

The day concluded with a press conference where 8 key leaders reflected on the progress and future of the movement under the moderation of Craig Sider, president of The NYCLC. The clear message was that cities need faith more than ever before.

“Every month, 5 million people are moving into cities around the world. The significance and influence of these urban centers has never been greater. If we are going to keep up with the growth and positively affect our cities with the gospel, it is imperative that we work together in the most effective way possible,” comments Mac Pier, founder and CEO of The NYCLC and Movement Day.

Tim Keller, senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and a key partner of Movement Day, discussed how the density and diversity of today’s cities has resulted in a healthy competition requiring leaders to dig deeper and to be more creative in their approach. Movement Day provides a way for participants to do more than talk. It challenges them to move beyond their differences, work together and foster the creativity alluded to by Keller.

Bob Doll, chief equity strategist and senior portfolio manager at Nuveen Asset Management emphasized the importance of the marketplace in meeting the challenges of the urban environment by stating, “Most people don’t go to church, so they will need to find Christ somewhere else. The workplace is a great place for that to occur, but we have to earn the right to be heard. We do that by being good at what we do.”

One of the many encouraging things to come out of Movement Day has been Movement Day Greater Dallas and the emerging group of millennial leaders in Dallas called Initiative. MDGD was held for the first time this past January and attended by more than 1400 leaders in the Dallas area. As the first successful replication of the New York event, Ram Gidoomal, London-based business leader and board chairman for the Lausanne Movement expressed, “Big cities can learn from New York and New York can learn from other big cities. If this can be done in Dallas, why not cities across the globe?”

Also emerging from Movement Day, the Luis Palau Association has organized a metropolitan effort called NY CityServe for the purpose of uniting churches, serving the city of New York and proclaiming the good news. The initiative launched in September 2014 and over 1,000 leaders gathered to kick off a year-long campaign of service initiatives in the city.

Other panelists for the press conference included:

  • Jon Edmonds, executive director of Movement Day Greater Dallas
  • Kevin Palau, president of the Louis Palau Association
  • Jim Liske, president of Prison Fellowship
  • Gary Frost, vice-president of the Midwest Region, North American Mission Board

In describing the mission of Movement Day, Pier concluded the press conference by saying, “There is an incredible need for collaboration that will reach beyond our organizations and spread the gospel more effectively. Our purpose is to celebrate and accelerate what God is already doing and not reinvent the wheel. The time to act is now.”