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7th City

The Story Continues with You

Our coverage focuses on six cities, but God is at work elsewhere, and we want to hear how his followers are bringing systemic renewal to communities the country over. The “7th City” is perhaps the most exciting leg of this project: the section devoted to stories of Christians bringing shalom to your community. If you have a story to tell, we would love to hear it. Contact our director of engagement, Christy Tennant, using the Submit Your Story button below, and join the conversation on Facebook.

Tell Us Your Story

We are gathering stories of Christians finding creative ways to bless their community. While we are encouraged to hear any story of city transformation, we are particularly interested in stories that:

  1. Center on a Christian or group of Christians, rather than an official church structure
  2. Center on Christians working in business, the arts, government, education, media, and politics
  3. Are currently unfolding, and thereby include conflict and emotion.

Thank you!

Planting Gardens in Prison: Why We Labor for Shalom Now
Image: flickr.com mikecogh

Planting Gardens in Prison: Why We Labor for Shalom Now

Even though we know we can't usher in God's kingdom, we're still called to establish order, beauty, and abundance in this life.
Why Suburbia Really Is Affecting Your Spiritual Life

Why Suburbia Really Is Affecting Your Spiritual Life

Eric Jacobsen, author of 'The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment,' says place matters for human flourishing.
Productivity and Grace: Management and Labor at a Denver Manufacturer

Productivity and Grace: Management and Labor at a Denver Manufacturer

Steve Hill and Jim Howey's leadership style is unusual in an industry known for top-down hierarchies.

The Top 10 This Is Our City Stories: Editor's Pick

And a bit of what our team learned along the way.
Memphis, TN

Would You Move After a Shooting On Your Front Lawn?

How we came to answer the question in Memphis.

Can Urban and Suburban Christians Agree?

The power of partnerships across metropolitan dividing lines.
Edina, MN

Yes, Sometimes We Can Serve Both God and Mammon

My congregation's experiment in using market values to grow our mission.
Charlottesville, VA

Why We Send Our Kids to the Poorest Public School

It's not just my own kids' well-being that matters anymore.
Chicago, IL

Piecing Together Peace Amid Chicago's Youth Violence

Why muralist Carolyn Elaine returned to her embattled alma mater.
Spokane, Washington

From Columbine to the State Capitol

How the school shooting still shapes Kevin Parker's civic service.
Southampton, UK

How UK Christians Can Respond to Secularism

Instead of separating from our local government, churches in my hometown partnered with it.
Tacoma, WA

A Long Obedience in the Same Downtown

The local, highly ordinary gospel witness of Zoe Livable Church.
Miami, FL

A Middleman for Change in Miami

Meet the go-to couple in South Florida for social justice work.
Baner, India

How I Responded to India's Rape Epidemic

I never acted on my angry reaction to news stories. Until Nirbhaya was killed.
Binghamton, New York

Christ Among the Contractors

How my work at a construction company reveals Jesus as much as my theology books once did.
Amherst, Virginia

How I Learned to Love My Literal Neighbors

Sometimes it's easier to love people in the abstract.
Denver, Colorado

A Growing Charter School Planted in Rocky Soil

Bill Kurtz, founder of the Denver School of Science and Technology, has gained national recognition for his approach.
Toronto, Canada

'Let Me Impact the Media for You'

How Lorna Dueck is embodying a winsome apologetic on Canadian TV.
Knoxville, TN

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

When I learned that kids in my city couldn't swim, I started to rethink how much I'd invested in overseas missions.
Tokyo, Japan

Meeting Our Tokyo Neighbors with Open Doors

In a culture suspicious of institutional faith, our church has found quiet ways to serve.
Omaha, Nebraska

Making Omaha (Yes, That One) a Tech Startup Hub

Jeff Slobotski believes his hometown could be known for more than cornfields.
Chicago, IL

Marching to Town Hall with Refugees and Immigrants

How my community stood up for the vulnerable.
Chicago, IL

Following Jesus, the Best Tech Guru

How Michael Fang sees his leadership in medical technology as kingdom work.
7th City

Why Cities Feel Glorious

And why, in comparison, the suburbs so often feel flat.
Philadelphia, PA

Making Films With, Not About, the Homeless

Neighborhood Film Company includes adults in recovery in the production process.
Minneapolis, Minnesota

How Psychology Shapes Our Prejudice

Christena Cleveland, a social psychologist, is helping churches and faith-based groups transcend deep-seated divisions.
Gilgit, Pakistan

Choosing Marriage Over the Mission Field

How Tim Kietzman, a successful missionary eye doctor, chose quiet faithfulness despite enormous needs in Pakistan.
Hong Kong

A Designer Lighting the Way to Justice

Xianyi Wu's solar-lamp company has brought affordable lighting to over 10 million worldwide.
Los Angeles, CA

How One Artist Turns Skid Row into Sacred Streets

An interview with Los Angeles's Jason Leith about his new installation that features portraits of the homeless.
Los Angeles, CA

The LA Theologian

How Fred Sanders does theology in, for, of, and from the City of Angels.
7th City

Two Urban Manifestos for Evangelical Christians

Two new books locate Christians' presence in cities, but only one of them actually engages the city.
7th City

We're All Makers Now

Chris Anderson, longtime editor of Wired magazine, makes the jump from high-tech to physical objects. Why we should follow him.
Austin, TX

Home Improvement Meets the Gospel

How two co-founders of the home-supply store TreeHouse infuse their business with environmentally sound faith.
7th City

You Can't Buy Your Way to Social Justice

Why the activism of some fellow Americans scares me.
Boston, MA

The Tech Poverty Fighter

How Andrew Sears at TechMission harnesses the Web to fuel urban ministry.
Pasadena, CA

The Oceans Declare the Glory of God

How NASA oceanographer Jorge Vazquez is protecting the seas through climate-change research.
7th City

We Want Your Common-Good Stories: Introducing Our Second Essay Contest

And you want our common-good cash, right?
Chicago, IL

Keeping Christian Schools Alive in Urban Chicago

How Bright Promise Fund helps faith-based educators keep their doors open.
7th City

Why Tim Keller Wants You to Stay in That Job You Hate

The Redeemer pastor explains how he ministers to laypeople facing career confusion.
7th City

Andy Crouch and Gabe Lyons Define the Common Good

And discuss how Christians can revive the historically rich phrase.
Seattle, WA

The Art of Art Collecting

Christy Tennant Krispin's show "Close to Home" aimed to take the elitism out of arts patronage.
Denver, Colorado

Forging the Future with the Tip of a Pen

How Jake Weidmann, one of 11 master penmen in the world, uses ink to link the past and future.
Durham, North Carolina

A Place for Creatives to Come and Perch

Mercury Studio takes the temperature of Durham's arts scene.
Minturn, Colorado

Doing an Inverted 180 on Colorado's Dead Forests

How Barry Clark saw opportunity for beauty and business in his destroyed landscape.
Burlington, Washington

Ministering on the Margins in Rural America

Tierra Nueva ministry reaches drug addicts, migrant workers, and other downtrodden people living in Washington State.
Hartford City, IN

Making Culture in a Small Town Storefront

Why I helped restore a relic from the past on behalf of the next generation.
Atlanta, Georgia

Why I Left World Vision for Finance

And why my current work matters as much as my former work.

Mixing Medicine and Mercy in the Streets of Iraq

I used to think Christian mission was only about evangelism. Until we met Seema.
7th City

Not Your Father's Christian Community Development

How John Perkins's CCDA has changed to respond to 21st-century realities.
Gold Coast, Australia

Jesus Is Coming, So Save a Wave

Surfing for the common good of my Australian city.

Why I Offer Clean Needles in Jesus' Name

On the front lines of HIV prevention in one of America's holiest cities.
Washington, D.C.

'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

How I answered the question would prove crucial to addressing racial divides in our D.C. neighborhood.
Denver, CO

Pay-What-You-Can Restaurants Dish Up Dignity in Denver

A new business model helps close the socioeconomic gap.
Austin, TX

Sibling Filmmakers Set Out to Free Austin's Sex Slaves

John and Michelle Nehme are tackling human trafficking in their own background.
Denver, CO

A Well-Lit Pathway Out of Poverty

Selling solar lamps to impoverished families is how Brian Rants serves God--and brightens the world.
Julian, California

My Love Affair with Small Town America

The qualities that drive away others are what endear me to my community.
Essay Winner

A Sliver of Shalom in the Suburbs

How my Christian community used a plot of land to plant community in an isolated neighborhood.
Toronto, Canada

How a Korean Prodigal Son Landed on Toronto's Stage

Toronto theater buffs know playwright Ins Choi. What they don't know is how his church makes his work possible.
Denver, CO

The Moral Mattress Kings of Denver

Two former campus ministers bring rest and integrity to a culture starving for a good night's sleep.
7th City

Want to Change the World? Call a Meeting

Most pivotal moments in history start with a conversation, not a retweet.
7th City

How to Approach Politics After November 6

Meet 7 Christians who engage politically beyond checking a ballot box.
7th City

Why Urban Christians Need Wendell Berry

What could the agrarian essayist who still uses a typewriter teach Christians in city centers? You'd be surprised.
San Francisco, CA

An Architect for the Green-Friendly Masses

Jill Kurtz believes it's time for architects to start serving the other 80 percent.
7th City

The Cutting Edge of Marketplace Ministries

How businesses are doing more holistic ministry than ever.
7th City

What's So Great About 'The Common Good'?

Why Christians need to revive the historically rich phrase.
7th City

The Moral Case for Debt

Why borrowing money is crucial to pursuing the common good.
Phoenix, AZ; 7th City

Planting Gardens in Prison: Why We Labor for Shalom Now

Even though we know we can't usher in God's kingdom, we're still called to establish order, beauty, and abundance in this life.
7th City

Why Suburbia Really Is Affecting Your Spiritual Life

Eric Jacobsen, author of 'The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment,' says place matters for human flourishing.

The Community Curator: How ArtPrize Is Changing Grand Rapids

The annual competition founded by Rick DeVos transforms the city's core—and how residents are engaging the visual arts.
Denver, CO

Productivity and Grace: Management and Labor at a Denver Manufacturer

Steve Hill and Jim Howey's leadership style is unusual in an industry known for top-down hierarchies.
7th City

Why Early Childhood Parenting Is a Gospel Priority

As the youngest members of society founder, so does society itself.
7th City

Announcing: The This Is Our City Essay Competition

Tell us about the common-good decisions you or others have made on behalf of your city..
Kansas City, Kansas

Dancing to the Beat of Shalom: Christians Revive Kansas City's Arts Scene

The Culture House and Störling Dance Theater have given believers a voice in the local arts scene and beyond, meanwhile bringing a bit of racial peace to the Kansas City area.
7th City

How (Not) to Be Worldly: Tracing the Borders of the 'Earthly City'

What the ancient phrase can teach today's Christians about our attempts at cultural transformation.
Richmond, Virginia

Walking toward Wellness: How Healthy Eating Informs Our Kingdom Work

Two Christians who promote natural foods as part of their vocational callings.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Good Eats and Evangelism: A Whole-Gospel Restaurant Serving Pittsburgh's Soul

Chef Nikki Heckmann's Bistro To Go offers tasty ingredients to revitalize Pittsburgh's North Side neighborhood.
Holland, Michigan

Digesting Grace: Why the Food We Eat Matters to God

And why buying produce from our local CSA reminds me of this fact.
Holland, Michigan

Tilling among the Tulips: Christians Sow Hope at a West Michigan Farm

Eighth Day Farm's founders believe local food will restore the land and bless its inhabitants.
Charlottesville, Virginia

The Story-Telling City Planner: Ebony Walden Infuses Poetry and Place

The Charlottesville leader believes Christians should be 'the 'most' involved, interacting, and creative' neighbors of all.
Alexandria, Egypt

Muslim Creativity Comes to Church in Alexandria, Egypt

The Corners for Creativity cultural center marks a new Christian witness in the Islamist city.
Lansdale, Pennsylvania

In Lansdale as It Is in Heaven: My City's Glocal Hope

Pastor J. R. Briggs discerns spiritual longing in his city's monuments.
Durham, North Carolina

Building a Beloved Community around Persons with Disabilities

North Street Community seeks to embed the marginalized in Durham, North Carolina's common life.
Long Beach, California

A MASH Unit for Grief: A Support Center Reaches the 'Incoming Wounded' of Long Beach

Nurse Susan Beeney estimates that each year, 40,000 of her neighbors are facing profound loss. What her nonprofit is doing to heal their wounds.
Philadelphia, PA

In Philadelphia, a Pastor Turned Business Owner and Accidental Arts Patron

How Paul Stone revived one factory and opened it to his neighbors.
Memphis, Tennessee

Faith Healing: How Local Churches Are Stepping into Health Care's Gaps

The innovative Congregational Health Network in Memphis relies on local congregations to take care of their members.
St. Paul, Minnesota

A Growing Hunger for a Local Voice: Sara Groves and Family Open Art House in St. Paul

Art House North is gathering musicians, photographers, and filmmakers to find 'a creative culture for the common good' of the Twin Cities.
Long Beach, California

Redeeming What Was Tossed: Fashion, Faith, and a California Designer's Creative Calling

Beth Giles takes "useless" old clothing and repurposes it for something good.
Fresno, California

Becoming a City Without Orphans: Connecting Fresno Christians to Foster-Care Children

Through coming alongside social services, Whitney Bunker has mobilized the faith community to live out James 1:27.
Columbus, Ohio

Ohio Stadium: The Buckeye State's Monument to the Glory of Football

A viewer-created film spotlights how sports unite us. But does that unity remain after we've left the stadium?
7th City; Indianapolis, IN

More Than Sales and Coupons: Giving Circle Connects Suburban Moms to Indianapolis

Cindy Palmer and Barb Tait's Kaleo giving circle is part of a bigger trend in U.S. philanthrophy.
Bangkok, Thailand

Soccer and Salvation in Thailand's Largest Slum

How Australia native Ash Barker is seeking stability in one incredibly instable Bangkok slum.
7th City

Common-Good Decisions: When Christians Bless the Cities of God

What happens when Christians sacrificially and creatively love their neighbors and neighborhoods.
Columbus, Ohio

Oldest Profession, or Oldest Oppression? Ohio Judge Creates Court for Abused Prostitutes

Out of Christian compassion, Paul Herbert created CATCH Court for women arrested on the streets.
Costa Mesa, California

Why Civic Engagement Belongs in Every Church's Mission Statement

Churches can commission their members to vocationally bless their community, says California pastor Michael Decker
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ed Dobson: How God Uses My Lou Gehrig's Disease for Good

The seasoned pastor connects Kim Newlen's story of battling breast cancer to his own battle with ALS
7th City

Culture Making Amid Cancer: The Choices That Suffering Makes Possible

Without getting breast cancer at age 27, would I have reached out to that Somali family on the subway?
7th City

Artificial Grace: Why the Creation Needs Human Creativity

A meditation on "Furniture Fit for the Kingdom," the City project's newest film.
Atlanta, Georgia

Lecrae's 'Man Up' Mission to Address Father Absence

The 32-year-old Christian rapper says biblical manhood is the key to stopping fatherlessness in Atlanta and beyond.
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Waiting for the Real Superman: A Christian School Closes the Achievement Gap

Hope Academy in Minneapolis says its success reaching at-risk youth rests on Jesus.
7th City

Public Education: The Next Moral Issue for Today's Evangelicals

How Nicole Baker Fulgham is convincing fellow Christians to fill in the education gap crippling U.S. cities
Venice, California

Bloom Where You Are Planted: Why We Chose Public School

A year in the life of a mom and community member turned public-school advocate.
Washington, D.C.

Duty and Desire: The Best Hope for Our Children's Education

What kind of school our children attend is far less important than what kind of people they are shaped into
Naperville, Illinois

An Unexpected Choice: Why We Traded the Public School for Homeschooling

The countercultural decision has redefined our family's notion of success.
Hoboken, New Jersey

'This Is a God Place': Why I Send My Kids to Christian School

Mustard Seed School teaches my children—and many others—that they are loved.
7th City

We're Not the First Generation of Urban Christians

Today's city-loving evangelicals may feel like pioneers, but they stand on the shoulders of spiritual giants.
7th City

Why Christians Can Raise Kids Anywhere: A Response to Kathy Keller

Christ calls us not to a particular location but to a particular way of life.
Wauconda, Illinois

God Called Me to Move to the Trailer Park

How the forgotten outskirts of Chicagoland became one woman's mission field.
Dallas, TX

The Baylor CEO Changing the Health-Care Debate

Joel Allison, head of Baylor Health Care System, says service and preventive care are key to changing U.S. standards
7th City

A Savvy Peacemaker Building across Missouri's Race Lines

From city council meetings to street corners, Lorenzo Lawson is shaping a more just Columbia, Missouri.
7th City

Where Am I? The Middle-Class Crisis of Place

Craig Bartholomew says staying in one place is key to our spiritual and community health.
7th City

The Spiritual Discipline of Staying Put: Planting Roots in a Placeless Culture

Instead of "moving up in the world," what if God wants us to remain in one place?
7th City

Breaking Through the Glass Sidewalk: Why Every City Needs Women Influencers

How women uniquely lead neighborhood transformation.
Indianapolis, IN

A Legacy in Indianapolis That Outlives the Super Bowl

Long before the NFL named my hometown this year's host city, Near Eastside leaders were revitalizing the heart of their neighborhoods.
Charlotte, NC

Shrimp and Grits with a Side of 'Shalom': The King's Kitchen Revitalizes Charlotte

Every aspect of Jim Noble's newest restaurant—including the food, all local—is designed to reflect the kingdom of God.
7th City

We Can't Go Back to the Garden: Critiquing Evangelicals' Over-Ruralized Eschatology

The Bible suggests we should envision the new heavens and earth as an urban landscape, not a field of lilies.
Memphis, TN

A Christian Teacher Residency Program That Eschews Classroom Evangelism

Memphis Teacher Residency tells residents to witness to Christ by teaching with excellence—and by committing to Memphis for the long haul.
Knoxville, TN

A Guide to Being Salt and Light in Knoxville

Compassion Coalition aims to mobilize and deploy Christians to address their city's brokenness.
7th City

Celebrating the Unglamorous, Effective Work of Local Politics

Political scientist Amy Black says a few concerned citizens in a particular neighborhood can have far greater impact than checking a box on November 2.
Chicago, IL

Building Houses As If They Mattered

In his attention to sustainability, community, and integrity, Chicago-based Perry Bigelow builds houses that foster their inhabitants' flourishing.
New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA

The Word on the Street in Manhattan and Philadelphia

NYC artist Gene Schmidt brings the words of Zechariah and 1 Corinthians to two urban landscapes.
Indianapolis, IN

Before 'Transforming' Your Neighborhood, Talk to Your Neighbors

For my failed megachurch, renewing the Near Eastside of Indianapolis meant stopping long enough to listen.
7th City

The Kardashians and Common Grace: Winter in Los Angeles

For all its vapidity, LA shows forth God's power and humanity's longing for him.
7th City

Taste and See That Seattle Is Good—Especially at Christmastime

The bounties of the earth and the best of human creativity direct me to the Maker of all.
Miami, Florida

Twinkly Lights in the Palm Tree: Why I Love Christmas in Miami

The city of emigrants reveals an important truth: We are all wanderers on the earth.
7th City

Boston at Christmas: Beauty, History, and That New England Frankness

I'm grateful for the way my city has nourished my art and imagination.
7th City

Who Will Love the City After a Nuclear Attack?

If history and our own resurrection hope bear out, it will be the Christians.
7th City

Andy Crouch on the Flourishing of the City

How is God at work in your own community? We want to know.
Salt Lake City, UT

How Mormon Country Became My Home

Now, instead of complaining about Salt Lake City's odder aspects, I pray for its well being.
Pittsburgh, PA

An Ichthus in a Sea of Loan Sharks

How faith-based nonprofit Grace Period is turning the tide on predatory lending.
Denver, CO

Doing Good and Turning a Profit

For businessman James Reiner, hiring ex-cons is more than a mission of mercy. It's smart business.
Boston, MA; Rockwall, TX; Colorado Springs, CO

Gratitude Comes to the City

Christian writers share what they love about where they live.
Seattle, WA

Where Christian Civic Engagement Begins

Tim Soerens believes that contributing to the shalom of his city starts with showing up.
Charlottesville, VA

No More 'Christian Artists' in Charlottesville

Three artists groups blur the sacred-secular divide in central Virginia.
North Little Rock, AR

A New Name for North Little Rock

River City Ministry teams with local mayors in the so-called 'meanest city to the homeless.'
Seattle, WA

Classical Christian Education Goes to the City

Seattle's first classical Christian school hopes to train future generations of Jesus-loving city leaders.
Chicago, IL

Revisiting Boystown

As its founder transitions, Emmaus Ministries continues to serve male prostitutes in Chicago.
7th City

A New Kind of Urban Ministry

Christians no longer want their communities fixed. They want them flourishing.
7th City

Seeking a 'Fanboy' Faith

Becoming 'fans' in our cities: an excerpt from 'Your Neighbor's Hymnal.'


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