In 1822, the first settlers arrived and founded what was then called Decatur, Ga. In 1847, the area would become known as Atlanta, a city with a rich and varied history and a region with events that have influenced the entire world, from the war between the states in the 1800s to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and perhaps the most recognized brand in the world—Coca-Cola. And of course it is difficult to think of the city of Atlanta without thinking of one of it's greatest sons, Martin Luther King Jr.
You are hopefully better about this than I am, but it is so easy for me to go somewhere, accomplish my agenda, and leave without ever connecting to the place, or especially to the people. I'm praying that in Atlanta I will not do that, and I'm including you in my prayers. In the midst of this city's significant legacy, I pray that the Lord would help us:
Love to learn in Atlanta. I pray that in the midst of the important family agenda we bring to Atlanta, we will maintain the posture of learner-leaders. I hope to be there in order to receive all He desires to impart into my life. To hear, not just tell. To learn, not just teach. May I give room to all the wonderful surprises the Holy Spirit has planned for me, especially as I allow Him to connect me more to you.
Learn to love in Atlanta. As a member of a church family birthed in the urban context, I desire to see Atlanta not only as a place, but also as a people, a mission and a story. I desire to love their story and become a part of it for a few days, helping in some small way to write His redemptive narrative in the lives of the wonderful people of Georgia. As a people of healing, may we take healing to this great city as we learn to see them and love them as God does.
Thousands of people from many ethnicities have prayed for decades that the Lord would bring revival to Atlanta. The King of kings is answering those prayers through you and me, and through Foursquare leaders from about 50 nations who will be able to make the trip. We have an appointment next week at 7:30 p.m. on May 31 when we will begin to discover afresh how He desires to reach, train and send us. Come thirsty. Come hungry. He has promised that as we put our agendas aside and give ear to Him, we will "eat what is good, and delight in abundance" (Isaiah 55:2). I really look forward to doing so, with you.
Jonathan Hall serves The Foursquare Church as vice president of global operations and director of Foursquare Missions International.