The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been challenged to reach the major cities around the world with the love and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When I see this big challenge, my mind thinks about you as part of a big army of more than 230,000 local church leaders. How can you be involved? I also think on your potential, spiritual gifts, creativity, and your influence over the congregation you lead. God is calling each one of us to be involved in this end-time initiative known as, “Mission to the Cities.”

Ellen G. White challenges us saying, “Who among God’s professing people will take up this sacred work, and labor for the souls who are perishing for lack of knowledge? The world must be warned. Many places are pointed out to me as in need of consecrated, faithful, untiring effort. Christ is opening the hearts and minds of many in our large cities” (Selected Messages vol. 2, p. 403).

The church must go where the people are and remain there until the people are won. But before we can go, there must be a vision for these population centers.

When Jesus saw the multitudes, He had compassion upon them, and we will never have compassion until we see them; therefore, vision is a key ingredient for reaching the big cities with the gospel. How we see the cities will determine what we do about them.

When Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved. He wasn’t moved to tears; He was moved to action. He communicated the magnitude of the harvest. He said it was plenteous. He challenged workers by bringing to their attention that the laborers are few. He called for cooperation by asking the Lord of the Harvest to send forth workers into the harvest.

Basically, the reaching of our cities is a spiritual problem. When we are able to see people through the eyes of Jesus Christ, we will see them as souls and, both individually and collectively, we will want to go where the souls are.

The danger and evil which are in the great cities of the world create an anticity attitude among some Christians. In addition to the danger, which lurks in the city, maybe there are many other barriers to evangelism. The cost of housing, the scarcity of land, restrictions, and many other complexities cause us to neglect the city.

Because of the many existing barriers, the penetration of cities requires people who are burdened for the masses. People who are willing to make the necessary sacrifice to fulfill this mission.

If large cities are to be reached, there must be a change in the concept of ministry. Those who are looking for a comfortable pew or pulpit must be touched again in order to see the harvest clearly. Where there is a burden for souls and for reaching the cities, the means and methods will be provided through the power of the Holy Spirit. Those things, which seem to be impenetrable barriers, melt before the eyes of burdened men and women. They look not at the barriers but at the people and their needs.

In the midst of the blight of materialism and the cry for comfort, I am praying like Jesus: “Send forth laborers into the harvest.” Give us men and women to stand in the gap and make up the hedge so that the people of our land will not be destroyed. May we answer like Isaiah, “Here am I, Send me!”

Jonas Arrais | General Conference Associate Ministerial Secretary