CityForce is basically, well…just me—linked to a network of friends and “family,” all “co-conspirators” in the current move of God to shape his church into the image of His Son.
Although a “friar” of sorts, a troglodyte by nature, I am blessed to have friends and “family,” all “co-conspirators” in the current move of God to shape his church into the image of His Son.
Said “shaping” is designed to reveal Christ in us and Christ through us as benefactors, “salt and light” to our ever-darkening earth.
Though CityForce is my solo endeavor, I am firmly rooted in the 24-7 Prayer Network in the USA, part of a spectacular team and engaged in pioneer church planting while strengthening and reforming hierarchical church structures. With all my “monk-like” tendencies I would be helpless with an “apostolic team” that are my friends and the joy of my life.
During an active season of working with two pastoral networks in Kansas City in 2000, I realized the need to launch a “non-profit” entity to benefit my trans-church efforts and make Uncle Sam happy. Utilitarian though it was, the Father was, as usual, superseding my earthly machinations and encouraging me to lend myself and my wee enterprise to the service of the people of God in cities across the globe.
“The core intention at the inception of CityForce was first to encourage the church to rediscover God’s plan for her.”
The core intention at the inception of CityForce was first to encourage the church to rediscover God’s plan for her as found in the Scriptures followed by an investigation of His “redemptive roots” in the cities he had assigned His people to.
Secondly, we were in need of a mass unification, a love so tenacious, that the propensity toward individualism, comparison and hostility in the family of God would burn off in the light of his revelation and calling to re-unify and “be one” in Christ
For all the lingo of “unity” being bantered around, there was still rampant anemia evident at the heart of the people of God. With all the attempts to take on Nehemiah’s mantle to “arise and build,” it was proving to be a less-than-fruitful undertaking. Rebuilding God’s work without surrendering to God’s ways was rendering the church impotent to the onslaughts of culture’s fast evolution into tower building—a modern Babel-like structure, that was and is seeking to replace the Creator with the creatures fallen constructs and ideologies. The church was quickly being mired in the quicksand of irrelevance. (see the Vision and Values section for more on these three values.)
In 2005, due to my increasing travels into Gospel-resistant nations, I took the CityForce website offline to lower my exposure to the prying eyes of some malevolent individuals in the nations I was conducting my travels. Now, 13 years later, rooted in Colorado, engaged in slightly more sanitized and “respectable” endeavors, I have capitulated to the counsel of my friends and family – thus this new iteration of the CityForce website.
Nothing fancy here, just a humble platform for linkage to some information and resources I and my friends have been developing out of the abundant lessons learned and the urgency to prepare the Bride for the joy of the Groom. There are links to my friends and colleagues in various movements that are pioneering new ground in spectacular form. Foremost kudos to my “team” with the Boiler Room Network (tied inextricably to the 24-7 Prayer movement) whose church planting and church transformation efforts are a source of joy and inspiration to this wandering friar.
With not even a hint of intrigue in “ministry building,” I retain my rolling office (my car) from where I dream the dreams of the Father to see all things summed up in the Son of His love and seek to be a source of encouragement to his family, “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.Eph. 4:13 (NIV)
I was lovingly raised by missionary parents in Tokyo, Japan. From day one cities were on the menu for my life. I was seventeen and had just come to the Lord. Standing in the busiest intersection of Tokyo with my music teacher handing out tracts to the throngs of people blankly walking by, I had the thought, “how could you ever reach of city the size and complexity of Tokyo?”
After my high-school graduation, I found myself living in the U.S. for the first time—Los Angeles. Just five years after the infamous Watts race riots, L.A. was still shaky. Playing my guitar with some of my buddies on a “mission outreach” to Watts another thought entered my heart? “how do we heal America’s racial wounds?”
I was attending Biola College in those days where my greatest achievement was finding Mindy Fox who mysteriously agreed to become my wife in 1973. Having become inadvertently Imbedded in the “Jesus Movement,” we soon found ourselves planting churches amongst the counter-culture youth during the 1970’s in California and Oregon, Seven years and three children later we joined Youth With a Mission and moved into the Red-Light district of Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1981—a life imprinting season indeed!
During our first week in the city, I was walking through streets lined with prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, live sex shows and porno stores wondering, “How do we amongst all of these broken people and not end up with a hard heart?”
After extensive evangelism, church planting and prayer ministry into Eastern and Western European cities, the Petersen’s were led back to the United States in 1994. Setting our sights on California’s capital city, Sacramento. I remember thinking, “How do we help unify the church in this “Gold Rush” city that is still so divided by a spirit of “claim staking?” In 1996, Jon joined Ed Silvoso and the Harvest Evangelism team to equip the Body of Christ to reach cities in North and South America, Asia and Europe. The question in those days was, “how can the church the way she is possibly reach the city the way she dreams?”
“I have a passion (and a couple of gifts) for transmitting God’s principles of rebuilding broken cities and nations and a love for Christian unity.”
I have a passion (and a couple of gifts) for transmitting God’s principles of rebuilding broken cities and nations and a love for Christian unity, the kind that results in a life-style of prayer and Gospel saturation of city-dwellers. While traveling for Harvest Evangelism, our family remained based in Sacramento, where I ministered as a “servant leader” to the growing network of pastoral and intercessory prayer groups in the Sacramento area.
With the assurance that God’s purposes for us in Sacramento were complete, we were commissioned by a circle of church leaders in Sacramento to live and minister in Kansas City. (They even sent a letter of commendation for us—who does that?) At that time, I was received by the Midwest Ministerial Fellowship and the Citywide Prayer Movement to partner together to reach Kansas City for Christ.
I remember thinking, “I wonder what the spiritual roots of this city are?” Two years later, myself and a wee team of researches were able to uncover five “redemptive roots” in Kansas City and rally hundreds of churches to take spiritual history tours, rediscover their spiritual legacy, repent and invite the Lord back into his genetic design for the city.
During this season, I also served as Associate Pastor of Metro Christian Fellowship in Kansas City with our friends, Floyd and Sally McClung, until the Spring of 2005 and launched CityForce. This wee non-profit organization was and is dedicated to serve citywide pastors and cultural leaders in their commitment to minister to God together, seek his purposes over the city and extend His glory to the whole city. These are leaders that are marked by a lifestyle of pursuing friendship with each other, interceding for the city and equipping disciples of Jesus that extend his Kingdom through multiplying communities (churches) of love to all peoples and arenas of city life.
In 2006 we moved to Colorado where we continue to live in the Rocky Mountains, a base from which I served on the Leadership Team for the 24-7 Prayer Movement (based in England) and was given oversight of the Boiler Room church plant network. Focused prayer was sweeping many churches and denominations around the world which in turn, was birthing new communities of faith across the nations. Today, I find myself helping to bring strength, encouragement and definition to this move of God by teaching and consulting church and cultural leaders across the United States, Europe and Asia.
In 2014, sensing the need to step out of all things “organizational,” I was released by the 24-7 Prayer Executive Team and the Global Boiler Room Network team to wander the network of our emerging church plants in addition to focusing more widely on the reformation of traditional churches. A wandering father as it were. Rooted in the US BRN team, I continue to train and be engaged in raising up the next generation of church, business and “culture shapers” for the work of the Kingdom in global cities. Our three kids produced eight beautiful granddaughters all in a row and finally…. one grandson, “The Caboose.”—joyful pandemonium.