We all have dreams. We dream of the perfect house, perfect car, perfect health, perfect family, and perfect career. But have you ever dreamed about a perfect city?
When I moved back to my hometown near Chicago, I had a heart to see the city — my city — reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Growing up near Chicago, I knew ministry would be difficult because, even though churches are on every corner, so are drug dealers, prostitutes, gang bangers, and groups of people hurting, longing, and looking for something more. Someone more. The city of Chicago is beautifully wrecked, longing for redemption.
I want you to imagine with me for a moment (write down what you see if it helps): What would it look like if Jesus was adored and praised in the way He deserves in every home, every family, every neighborhood or suburb, every church, every pastor, every pastor’s wife, and every part of your city? What would it look like if the name of Jesus took over your city? What are some changes would you would see? What would be different? What would it look like if your city was perfect? Can you see it?
In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us a transforming prayer we can emulate. In this prayer, Jesus begins by addressing our false thinking about prayer, but He then goes on to hit at the very heart of God. What does God want for you and for your city?
Jesus said to His disciples: “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’” (Matt. 6:9-10, ESV).
Each of the two petitions in this prayer point out the fact that these transformations are not yet a present reality, but can be. Through our prayer and God’s power, real transformation can happen. How?
First, Jesus teaches transformation happens when God’s name is hallowed. No one uses this word ‘hallowed’ anymore, and no good English word conveys exactly what Jesus is saying. Martin Lloyd-Jones helps us when he says that to pray our Father’s name would be hallowed is to have “a burning desire that the whole world may bow before God in adoration, in reverence, in praise, in worship, in honor, and in thanksgiving.” (Lloyd-Jones, Martin, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, IVP 2000, p. 61)
Why would we want God’s name to be hallowed? Because where His name is hallowed, everything is made right and whole.
Second, Jesus teaches us transformation happens when God’s kingdom comes. When I was a kid, we used agendas in school to keep track of assignments. In the very back of the agenda was a world map. A few friends and I came up with a game of world domination. We would pretend to be world leaders, debate over control of countries, and work toward world peace. We all had our kingdoms. We all were kingdom builders. The problem was, we were building our own kingdoms. This story reminds me of a similar choice we make every single day. Will I spend my life building my own measly, junior-high-agenda kingdom, or will I join in God’s great work of building His kingdom here? Will I spend my life working to see God’s kingdom come here and now?
Here is the beautiful thing: When God’s name is hallowed, and His kingdom comes, then the earth, your city, your church, your home will begin to look more and more like heaven. If we want to have transformation in our city, we must have transformation in our lives. If we want to have transformation in our lives, we must have transformation in our churches. If we want to have transformation in our churches, we must have transformation in our church planters and pastors. This is where coaching fits.
Great coaching will help us see the reality of the city transforming more and more into the kingdom of God. Great coaching will help us see all those things you imagined earlier of a perfect city become more and more true. Coaching can be a tool that transforms the lives of those leading the charge in hallowing God’s name and building God’s kingdom.
Brothers and sisters, the need for coaching is great. Pastors and planters are doing ministry alone. Their transformation growth is stunted. They’re waiting for you. So, let me ask you, are you ready to see God change your city? Are you ready to see God’s name be praised in every part? Are you ready for God’s kingdom to come? Are you ready to help change a pastor or planter’s life by becoming a coach?
I am, and I hope you are too!
Published July 12, 2018