Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Jeremiah 29:7
This verse is a motivational verse for me in church planting. I want a church that blesses the city in which it is planted.
The Israelites were promised prosperity. God had great plans for them. (Jeremiah 29:11) We love to quote the verse, but we often leave out the context in which it was written. God did have big plans for the people, but that promise was given only after they were told they were facing 70 years of captivity. During their time of exile, the Israelites weren’t to roll over and play dead. They weren’t to complain and revolt against the city. They were to work hard, build houses, plant crops, and have children. Even more than that, they were to bless the people who were holding them in exile. (Read Jeremiah 29:1-13 for a better context.)
I get tired of watching believers protest everything that moves contrary to their prescribed set of values rather than invest in the community around them in hopes of making it better. If we spent half as much time helping others as we did complaining about what we don’t like or agree with, I wonder if those outside the church would be more interested in what happens inside the church.
I want a church that is recognized in its community as a catalyst of positive change and influence that cares as much or more about people who aren’t even yet a part of the church. A church like that will prosper as the city where it is located prospers.