[featured_image]George Sweeting, president of Moody Bible Institute from 1971-1987, wrote a short booklet entitled The Challenge of the City which focuses on the unique needs and opportunities for ministry in cities. Here’s an excerpt:
The greying, heavyset evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, slowly surveyed his listeners. Only twenty-five years had passed since he had laid aside his personal business ambitions to devote his entire life to reaching the unconverted.
It had been fifteen years since the great Chicago when Moody sent his congregation out into the smokey night with a week to think about making a decision for Christ. Many of his congregation died that night without making a decision—and Moody never forgot it.
Now Moody was challenging this crowd of believers to take the stand to become “gap men and women,” and bridge the chasm between clergy and the multitude of unsaved on every side.
“Either these (unsaved) people are to be evangelized, or the leaven of communism and infidelity will assume such enormous proportions that it will break out in a reign of terror such as this country has never known.” (Gene Getz, MBI: The Story of Moody Bible Institute, Moody Press, 1969, p 49)
Some faulted Moody that night for predicting violence, but four short months later not only Chicago but the nation rocked to the bloody labor riot of Haymarket Square in Chicago. This riot with its aftermath of bitterness was only a hint of the upheaval to come in the twentieth century.
But the evangelist did more in his address than predict violence. Moody articulated a vision and a burden for the urban masses—a burden that laid the foundations for what is today known as the Moody Bible Institute.
D.L. Moody had already seen the power of the Gospel in the new emerging urban society. While evangelizing the great cities of England and America, Moody witnessed the desperate plight of the poor, the creeping blight of materialism, and the mighty power of the Gospel message.
In Scotland, he watched thousands put their faith in Jesus Christ at the Glasgow evangelistic crusade. Then an orphanage was started, a Bible school founded, and a center for the poor raised up.
The evangelist understood both the need and the opportunity of the city.
How is your heart burdened to see the power of the gospel in urban settings?
Pray for believers to take the stand to become “gap men and women” to bridge the chasm in our nation’s cities.
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