In 2008 for the first time in human history more people lived in urban towns and cities than in rural areas. In America cities are seeing a revitalization and re-urbanization as commute-weary suburbanites and young urbanites are flocking back to these urban areas. Yet most church planting is still happening in the suburbs. Now don’t get me wrong, I currently live in the suburbs and am thankful for the great church opportunities that exist there, but there is a huge mission field in urban areas that is drastically under-served with vibrant and culturally relevant churches on a per capita basis.
There are exceptions, and there is a trend gaining momentum…urban church planting. It is exciting for me to personally be involved with one such church that is having a huge impact on their city. National Community Church in Washington DC is spreading the Gospel in the marketplace…both the marketplace of ideas (right in the heart of Capitol Hill) and the marketplace of business (see the success of their Ebeneezers Coffehouse). Visioneering Studios is excited to be partnering with Mark Batterson and his team at National Community Church as they prepare to add another multi-site location to serve our nation’s capital. This will be an urban infill project and will hopefully lead to further renewal and redevelopment of this section of Washington by providing a vibrant and culturally relevant place for the community to come together and ultimately have an opportunity to be introduced to Christ in what would probably seem to be a surprising setting to the unchurched.
There are many others leaders out there who desire to reach their city for Christ, and it is amazing to see how they are impacting their communities. If you are looking for some inspiration check out a few of these links to churches and leaders who are following the call to return to the city: Tim Keller at Reedemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, Vince Antonucci at Verve on “The Strip” in Las Vegas, Louie Giglio at Passion City Church in Atlanta, Jarrett Stephens at Soul City Church in Chicago, Shaun King at Courageous Church in Atlanta, and Matt Carter at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX.
Do you know of some other urban churches who are impacting their community? What are they doing to renew the city socially, spiritually, and culturally?