When we planted our church in San Diego in 2005 (yay LifePoint!), we intentionally started in a redeveloping community. Two years later we were privileged to assist in our own small way a new church plant in the heart of downtown San Diego (Citywalk Christian Church). Over the years I’ve become convinced we need to purposefully target urban areas, here in the United States and around the world.
There was a time in American history when a majority of the population lived in rural areas. That is no longer the case. In fact, nearly 17% of the United States population lives in one of five metropolitan areas: New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
These same five cities are dramatically under-churched. And they are not alone. You could add to that list Denver, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Miami, and Peoria (I had to give a shout-out to my hometown). In metro New York, there is one church for every 44,000 residents. That’s amazing … sad!
It’s a fact that New York shapes much of the economic and cultural climate of America. The same could be said of Los Angeles. The influence of our large, urban cities is undeniable.
For the modern church to remain an impact player, we will have to be intentional about starting new churches in urban areas. This will require a missionary mindset and a willingness to work in difficult surroundings. It will cost money. It may mean you never own a big church building. But the potential for good is tremendous.