Tony Hodges - City Vision

After working for a large consulting firm and with a media background, Tony grew a communications consultancy over 23 years to employ 100 staff on 3 continents. He sold the business 2 years ago and is now applying the lessons learned to City Vision when brings leaders together from churches, civil life, charities, and businesses to envision greater well-being for the city. He is 73, has been married to Vivienne since 1984, and lives near Leeds, UK.

A Vision for the City

Our Thesis:

God has a vision for every city because He has a vision for every individual. He knows their end from their beginning. The vision of a healed and restored city however is heavily reliant on the degree to which the Christian leaders in that city take the New Commandment seriously, among themselves, as a collective.

The Kingdom will be seen to transform a city far more when the leaders function collectively in an upper room oneness with a love for each other that is dictated by the New Commandment.

There is a devastating hindrance to blessing resulting from leaders who love their congregations but do not love their fellow ministers across the street of another denomination. Such division, for whatever reason, will not attract heaven’s blessing. Heaven cannot bless a breaking of the New Commandment. All who follow Jesus are called to love one another. It is vital that eyes be opened to the devastation brought into the earth through a refusal to love our ministerial neighbor because his or her doctrine doesn’t cross our particular ‘t’ or dot our particular ‘i’. When we refuse to love we open a door to the enemy.

While Jesus said that His leaders were to be known in every place at every time by their Christlike sacrificial love for each other, there are few places on earth, if any, where one could conduct a word association test using the phrase “church leaders” and be met with the spontaneous response “ah, people who really love one another!”

Our blindness to this and our passive acceptance of its impact is simply staggering.

Leaders not loving fellow leaders, while promoting a message of love from their pulpit is a spiritual incongruity. It gives the world every reason to say “These people do not believe their own message! They preach ‘love one another’ from their pulpits but patently as leaders, they do not love each other as leaders.” Jesus was incendiary about this kind of double-mindedness.

Our premise is that this blindness has a root cause which is that the enemy has sown tares. In his deception, the enemy of or souls has made it culturally acceptable that disagreement over doctrine justifies the breaking of the royal law of love. By this tradition, we nullify the word of God. Once identified through, these tares of deception can be removed allowing Christlike love to flow afresh and in its train release spiritual blessing and power.

How do we remove these tares though?

First, it requires leaders to acknowledge that to remain silent over a situation that is plainly in view - leader-to-leader disconnection - is unacceptable. God came to reconcile us to Himself and to each other. The spiritual division is not heaven’s way. We need suitable healing processes, godly processes, of reconciliation at a city-wide level. For the healed situation to last over time, we need other processes as well that will develop a sustainable New Commandment culture of heavenly love.

City Vision brings processes to leaders in cities designed to bring reconciliation and Kingdom culture building through ongoing metanoia.

To do this, our premise is that we need to rethink the purpose of the church in the city. If cities are the place of influence in a region and the people of God are the people of influence, the question becomes “What then is the role of the people of influence in the place of influence?”

In addition, we need to rethink our answer to another important question, “What will our city look like when the Kingdom comes in fulness?” What will be the signs of its coming? Will it just be “more Christians going to more churches?”

No, the answer is much bigger than that.

The city needs to be thought about more creatively and from different perspectives. Leaders generally take an ‘inside out look’ from within their own churches but do God take a helicopter view? What about a side view from a power perspective or an underneath view based on the needs that He sees that we don’t?

We have to learn how the cities in which we are placed operate. We have to understand their needs better than we do. We need to connect with civic leaders better than we do. Where are the Nehemiahs, Esthers, Josephs, and Daniels of our day? God works from the bottom up but from the top down too.

We have to rethink discipleship and the role of the active disciple in the city. How do we support them? We have to become aware that in any given city center on any working day, hundreds of Christians are within a few hundred yards of each other yet do not know of each other’s existence. This is madness. We have to find ways of connecting, empowering, and encouraging them and raise the spiritual army working in every city center. The lost potential for the kingdom as things stand in these days of disconnection is huge but with digital connection, the situation is quickly reversible. It is into this mix that City Vision works to offer processes and support, connectivity and facilitation, and bring digital connectivity. Our desire is to take the missed daily opportunity turning it into a daily release of God’s power at the heart of each city.

City Vision is a catalytic agency whose larger aim is to play its part in disciplining the nation. Our premise is that to expect to disciple a nation when we cannot disciple a city is a wrong assumption. Cities are the basic building blocks of a nation in much the same way that families are the basic building blocks of society. If we can learn to disciple a city, we can learn to disciple a nation.

Central to all the above, as the turnkey idea, is that in every city church leaders have to learn to accept an additional role, that of their collective responsibility for the spiritual watch care of the city. This is watch care that can only properly be lived out when New Commandment love is being lived out fully among them. Then Jesus becomes present and everything changes.

Why such an emphasis on the collective living out of New Commandment love by the collectivized church leadership in a city?

  1. It gives such credibility to our message. We are no longer seen to be hypocrites, preaching one message while living another but as people of integrity living the New Commandment message, congregations follow their leaders as they model this love among themselves.
  2. This new unity gives civic leaders a front door to go to. Their frequent complaint is that “We know you do good work as churches but we don’t know who to talk to, you’re so fragmented”.
  3. It brings in leaders who are anointed people of influence but may not be leading a church in the conventional sense, they may be in government, the business of working in a charity.
  4. Multiplied spiritual gifting, and the confluence of that gifting, come into play releasing a spiritual dynamic where heaven may more easily come to earth.
  5. It brings about a wider view of the work of the church in the city for church leaders as they see the influence their collectivity can bring.
  6. Most important of all it obeys heaven. And this releases invisible blessing. We have not talked in this paper about the unseen realm and invisible forces of the angelic hosts, that is for another day. Suffice to say that Jesus is already on mission in each city and our job is to join Him in His mission, not to be trying to persuade Him to join us in ours. The heavenly hosts already know this and are simply waiting for us to align.

Part Two coming soon!

For more information please visit CityVision or contact

Envisioning the Journey - City Vision Diagrams: