Find the City Gates

Jeremiah is definitely one of the heaviest books in the Bible. But if you can handle the heavy parts, there are some amazing pictures and principles.

Jeremiah 17:19 is one example: "Go and stand in the People's Gate, by which the kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem."

We tend to read the Bible for content. We want to discover "what." But this is an example where you have to read for context. The real diamond in this passage, in my estimation, is "how." It's not just what Jeremiah says, but where he says it.

The Lord gives him a message, but also gives him specific instructions on where to deliver the message. He sends him to a place with the highest concentration of people. This is particularly meaningful to me as a church planter because I feel like it's so critical that church plants figure out where to plant. You need a message for sure. But you also need to find a city gate where people will hear it. You have to find ways to make sure the message is heard by the maximum number of people. One key to church planting is to find the "city gates" if you will. You have to find the cultural intersections. That is why we love movie theaters. They are artistic gates in our culture. That is why I love coffeehouses. They are places where the church and community can cross paths. I think night clubs and bars are city gates. If you're trying to reach young families, it makes sense to rent a school. Those are the gates that families walk in and out of every day.

I think churches need to be more intentional about making sure they position themselves in highly trafficked places. Just as the Lord positioned Jeremiah at the ancient city gates so he had a captive audience, I think the Lord wants us to find those cultural intersections where we can preach the gospel.