Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York is known to have a passion for the urban city centers. For years he has issued calls to planters and churches to go after the city, especially as we have seen the rise of urban development and people moving back into city centers.
In his most recent blog Keller gives a bit of a vision of what is happening today in cities and asks a very important question all missiologists and planters need to ponder.
Here is his conclusion:
Our church was founded at the very beginning of this renaissance, in 1989. At that time, moving into the center city to begin a church seemed to be a fool’s errand. The year we moved to New York City, a survey came out indicating that most of the residents of NYC would move away if they could. Those were bad times! Yet, within a few years of our founding, I began to get calls from churches, denominations, and leaders who had begun to notice the renaissance in nearby cities. They realized that it was time to plant churches to reach all of these new residential communities.
But twenty years later, we have reached the end of an era. The Great Recession is upon us, and even if it has officially ended – or has it? – we expect a protracted time of high unemployment and fitful, sluggish economic growth. This same kind of economic environment in the 70s and 80s was destructive for cities. The question for us now is, what lies ahead for American cities?