Interviewer: Megan Garrett, Lane of Roses Writing Ambassador
Responder: Anthony Humphress, Co-Founder - City for the Nations
First, can you introduce yourself and tell us how you got involved with City for the Nations?
I attended a church growing up in a small town that brought in missionaries to share often. My only thoughts were something like, "God, please don't make me be a missionary!" Perhaps I had the wrong idea of God's character and certainly didn't understand his heart for the nations or the many roles we can play other than going overseas. Fortunately, I attended a Go Global conference in college and heard about "People Groups," or as the Bible calls them, Nations. I realized for the first time there were hundreds of people groups made up of millions of people that had no known followers of Jesus, no church, no one even attempting to share the love of Christ with them, and therefore no hope. I couldn't shake this fact and eventually, God gave me the vision to see the Church unified and fulfilling the Great Commission of making disciples of all nations. This vision started taking root 11 years later when I partnered with Miles Phelps and the Lexington Leadership Summit to help start the Lexington Prayer Room, host an Issachar Initiative Summit, and launch City for the Nations.
What gifts has God given you that help you in your work?
Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side of the fence but I've accepted my gifting and attempt staying in my lane, or what others may refer to as strengths, gifting, talents, calling, or even passion. I believe I'm a starter/pioneer/apostle but with an unusual sense for details and follow-through. However, the primary gift and the only one that really matters is the Holy Spirit who lives in me & all those who love Jesus. It's certainly not by my own might or wisdom that anything of eternal value is established - it's only by His power, wisdom, and love!
How does the Lord use the work you do locally to have a global impact?
I mentioned earlier there are several roles one can play in aligning with God's heart to see all nations know and love Him. One role is certainly going, but one can also mobilize and equip others, specifically those who love Jesus that already live near people who have no hope. Helping send workers or Biblical resources through giving as well as loving refugees and/or international students in our own backyard are ways to reach nations. Most importantly, God waits for us to partner with Him in prayer for the nations so we can be a part of His plan. I love and desire to participate in all these ways - and I'd encourage any lovers of Jesus to at least give a little of their time, talent, and/or treasure in one or more of these ways.
How does City for the Nations live out the Great Commission?
Our primary mission is to unify the Church in a city (like Lexington) to fulfill the Great Commission in another country they are paired with (like how Lexington has "adopted" Nepal or how Richmond/Somerset have "adopted" Niger). So our desire is to connect, unify, and unleash the unified Body of Christ in various cities to disciple unreached nations.
What is your advice for people who want to evangelize to internationals locally?
I'd say hook up with other groups that are doing so. You can click here to visit www.cityforthenations.com and they will be happy to resource you to others. But in a lot of ways it’s as simple as seeing the opportunity to love someone God places in your path.
What’s your experience like with fundraising?
When I graduated college I worked for a start-up campus ministry called APEX 3101 that was known as The Rock on UK's campus. We eventually merged with Greek InterVarsity and then handed off to CSF and CO. The first few years the founder paid our salary and then we had to raise our own support to use our time on campus. I raised financial support in college for mission trips but raised my own salary from around 2002 to 2009 when our real estate holdings were enough to support us. It was certainly a faith journey and a lot of fun.
Can you tell me about a time where you had a problem but the Lord really came through?
My greatest problems have come when I've attempted to do things my own way and walk away from Him. I particularly struggled with unhealthy lifestyle choices and being overly concerned with others' thoughts of me - well to this day. I used to think once I'd completely handed my life over to Him I could check that box and move on, but have realized its a daily death to self - most of the time several times a day. I had made such bad decisions over Christmas break my junior year of college I thought there was no way God would have me back. Since I felt dirty, I lived even dirtier. I had given up. He reached out to me in such a dramatic way and drew me back in that anytime I have doubts of His existence or love I think back to that time. He's so full of grace and mercy. The more I know Him and His love, the more I desire to follow Him rather than do my own thing.
What’s your next step for the organization?
Miles Phelps co-founded and directs City for the Nations and has a great team. They are currently getting the tools/resources set up to create 24-7 prayer movements in cities focused on particular countries they're paired with. Once this is set up, we are very excited about replicating to many other cities until all unreached nations are prayed over 24-7! I'm also very excited about our partnership with the Finishing Fund which is raising the last bit of money to send workers to the remaining unengaged people groups/nations who don't have anyone among them attempting to make disciples. There are about 500 of these unengaged unreached people groups (UUPGs) that remain but we believe by the end of 2020 all of them will have a witness living among them to make disciples and plant churches.
How can people be praying for you and City for the Nations?
Please pray for the tools/resources mentioned above to fall into place quickly & for the team & all partners to abide wholly in Him. Thanks so much for this opportunity to share!
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? CLICK HERE