Urban Church Planting Strategy

by The Ecclesiologist

The push of urban church planting is nothing new.  Rev. Roland Allen (an early 20th century English Anglican missionary) cautioned the people of his day:

It is not enough for the church to be established in a place where many are coming and going unless the people who come and go not only learn the Gospel, but learn it in such a way that they can propagate it. It has often happened that a mission has been established in an important city, and the surrounding country has been left untouched so far as the efforts of the native Christians have been concerned, because the Gospel was preached in such a form that the native convert who himself received it did not understand how to spread it, nor realize that it was entrusted to him for that purpose.  (Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours, 13).

This caution is also relevant today.  I know many Christians who feel like they are a part of a different religion when they go home to see their parents in the suburbs.  Today’s urban Christians have the same problem as those of Allen’s day.  Allen’s question to the urban church movement of today would be something like,

“Is this ‘new’ movement of urban church planting actually equipping this generation of urban saints to mature in their faith (a faith which encourages going to art museums, watching HBO shows like the Wire, and reading the Economist) even when they leave the downtown environment or is this just more unspreadable Christianity?”

Credit must be given to Dr. Bird for the quote.