I’ve heard that several prominent suburban churches in Minnesota announcing plans to open locations downtown. As an urban dweller – who is also a missionary and student of the church – I thought I’d share some major reservations about this development. At the core this is an issue of culture and world view.
A mentor taught me about the natural reach every minister has. Someone needs to be able to identify with the Pastor and/or staff of a church. It’s that identification that helps them enter into a transformative pastoral relationship. He spoke of the limit of age, and I believe this extends to culture & world view. Few foreign language churches impact outside of their linguistic group. Each of those churches is an important part of Gods work in the world. Yet, it would be unrealistic to expect a non-native church to impact beyond those who are within its cultural purview. We can express frustration about this, but there are only a few examples to the contrary. Even Jesus was intentional about limiting the scope of his ministry – with only a few exceptions.
We have many biblical examples of people leading their own (David, Jesus, Peter, and more). We also have examples of people leaving their culture to lead others (Moses, Paul, and countless missionaries over the millennium). Underlying these 4 issues is my concern that this cultural divide is all too easily overlooked.
I believe there are 4 major issues separating urban from suburban.