By: Brigitte Pinsonneault
CityWide, the a twice-a-month prayer meeting held in the basement of an old convent in Roeland Park, Kansas, has been pulling in forty to fifty people since it began in early September. Located in a suburb of Kansas City, the lower level of the St. Agnes convent is transformed into an underground worship space that gives the feel of meeting and worshiping "as the first Christians did," observed a recent CityWide attendee.
Hosted by two chapters of Saint Paul's Outreach in Kansas - the young adult outreach and the Kansas City college outreach - each night of CityWide has welcomed in young people from across Kansas City. Local college students and young professionals gather together with the missionaries of Saint Paul's Outreach Kansas on the second and fourth Thursday of every month to encounter the power of the Gospel and respond to the Lord and his word in dynamic praise and worship.
The scripture verse that's been on the hearts of the CityWide leadership team gives insight into the vision for these gatherings. Like the apostle Paul points to in 1 Corinthians 4:20, it is vital to encounter the Lord in his power, in our direct access to him in prayer and in worship.
"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power."
The idea for CityWide surfaced when the missionaries saw the need for the people they met to encounter the Gospel outside of the walls of a church. Many Christians are used to hearing the message of Jesus within the confines of a Sunday liturgy, but this alone is insufficient for intentional discipleship. There is a need to make consistent and to reveal the relevancy of the Gospel message and a relationship with the Lord Jesus in the daily lives of all people.
When the idea for a CityWide prayer meeting was first pitched to members of the Kansas mission team, SPO Mission Director Nick Redd envisioned, "We want to create an atmosphere of faith where people can hear the Gospel, respond to it in faith, and apply it to their lives."
Redd continued, "CityWide is a renewal for Catholics in Kansas City, it is a surprise for evangelicals, and it is a refreshing culture of desire and longing." It is here, where our yes and our desire meets our unquenchable desire for God, that our lives are transformed by Christ.
The thing is, many people have heard the Gospel before. They may have heard its message once, twice, or even a hundred times. The CityWide team has seen, though, that each time the Gospel is proclaimed, the power of the word of God makes a fresh impact on the individuals at CityWide. Then, as the body of people respond to the Gospel in praise and worship, the beauty and the intensity of the worship transform the community and Kansas City.
Gospel. Worship. Community. That's what CityWide is about.
Listen to the CityWide messages here.