The Wealth of Cities

How can we design WCIU to empower NGOs to be contextualized to the increasingly urban world, to help societies become more & more aligned physically, socially, & spiritually?

Recently I was in the Denver airport and saw a large ad by Prudential saying trillions of dollars are being invested in cities globally to change them from being run down to thriving. Prudential calls this a “mega trend” and has a white paper called, “The Wealth of Cities.”

In introducing their “Wealth of Cities” paper Prudential says, “Never in history has the pace of urbanization been so rapid: 60 to 70 million people moving to cities every year for the next few decades. $50 trillion in global infrastructure needs. The emergence of ‘Smart’ cities, with 26 billion wired connections by 2020. This ‘prime time’ of urban expansion creates a wealth of new opportunities for investors.” That’s Prudential’s interest in cities: an investment opportunity.

But what is the opportunity for God’s Kingdom? How can NGOs work strategically, with God’s purposes in mind, in the complex living systems in the cities of the world?

This reminds me of the heavenly city in Rev. 21: “the glory of God gives it light, and … the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” Their glory is their unique cultural perspective for understanding who God is. The task of the Great Commission will not be completed until some from every tribe and tongue and nation are able to bring their glory and wealth into the heavenly city.

Beth Snodderly, D.Litt. et Phil.

Beth Snodderly is a past president of William Carey International University and is the editor for both the William Carey International Development Journal and the Ralph D. Winter Research Center. She holds the degree of Doctor of Literature and Philosophy in New Testament from the University of South Africa. She authored the book Chaos is Not God’s Will: The Origin of International Development and has edited several volumes including, First the Kingdom of God: Global Voices,The Goal of International Development, Evangelical and Frontier Perspectives on the Global Progress of the Gospel, Reflecting God’s Glory Together and Agents of International Development and Shalom.