The theme is “Awaken Your Community.”
“We want people to realize how God wants to use them to make a difference where they live, how God works with them to make a difference,” Andrew Chalmers said.
Chalmers is founder of the Take the City movement in Columbus which is hosting its second Take the City Conference at Trinity Assembly of God Church on Bascom Court in Columbus Sept. 21-23.
Take the City is a Christ-centered movement that partners with local ministries to transform cities by serving in the areas of proclamation, compassion and justice.
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The organization wants people to imagine hundreds of churches and organizations from across the Chattahoochee Valley area coming together to love, serve and pray for the region.
Take the City wants people to imagine what could be accomplished if a greater collaboration is built among civic, corporate and church leaders — one spanning economic and denominational lines.
And looking at the recent headlines about local crime, the group believes the collaboration is needed more than ever.
Chalmers said several local churches and organizations are helping the movement, which is now spreading to other states, to accomplish all that God has called it to do. A big part of that is inspiring people to get outside of the walls of the church and reach thousands locally who do not have much hope.
“We want to reach those who may never enter a church and share God’s grace and love with them. We want people to be excited about sharing the gospel,” he said.
Chalmers said he is looking for people of all races, denominations and economic statuses to gather at the conference with a singular focus of being better equipped in bringing the transforming power of God’s kingdom to local schools, neighborhoods and workplaces.
Chalmers said representatives from numerous churches and businesses attended in 2016.
He said the weekend is going to be filled with incredible times of worship, relevant teachings and powerful encounters with God’s presence.
“To solve many of the problems we have, the church has to go to the community rather than wait for the community to come to the church. We will talk about that,” Chalmers said.
Last year’s event was held at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. This time, Chalmers chose a smaller auditorium.
“I think it is a more intimate setting,” he said.
The speakers are big.
Besides Chalmers, author and evangelist Chris Overstreet will come from California and Robby Dawkins, an evangelist who ministers in more than 38 countries, is making a return appearance.
The conference is a mixture of speeches, worship and discussion. It begins Thursday night with one session at 7 p.m. On Friday, activities begin at 10 a.m. with the final session at 7 p.m. On Saturday , the first session begins at 9:30 a.m. with the final session beginning at 6:30 p.m.
There will be meal breaks with no meals served at the church.
Chalmers said people from around the South have registered.
The cost is $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Those interested should go to Conference.takethecity.com.
People attending the conference are likely to hear about some of the Take the City initiatives.
One is Redeem, the goal of which is to see the end of human trafficking in the area. Chalmers said Take the City goes into areas where prostitution is common and work to get women off the street by giving the women hope for something better. A hotline has been established. “We need to love people,” Chalmers said.
The goal of project LifeHouse is to fix up homes in impoverished areas and then place people in them to minister to others in the community. People in the homes will pay a reduced rent in exchange for their service. There will be consistent service projects to improve the areas and bring hope to the residents.
“It is a sacrifice for the greater good. People, who live in the homes, will have to sacrifice comfort,” Chalmers said. “The church needs to bring hope and the gospel to the most hurting portions of the city.”
The movement leader said, “We believe through these initiatives we will see a decrease in crime and an improvement of life.”