Monday, April 19, 2010

Would You Move to a Miserable City to Plant a Church?

One enjoyable memory that will stay with me from the T4G conference in Louisville was going with a friend from the church to eat sushi for the first time with some of his friends from Detroit Michigan.

The memory will stay with me for at least 2 reasons.

First, it was my first time to go sushi I decided to really go for it. I feasted on raw fish and even ate an eel ninja role that tasted just like it sounds. Unfortunately I made it through about 20 minutes of Al Mohler’s session before I got sick and spent the rest of the evening in my hotel room. Sorry Al. It really was the sushi.

Secondly, I learned a little bit more about Detroit. My new friends talked about the difficulty the city has experienced for years—how racial tensions still cast a dark cloud over the city—about how all of them would love to move out but are upside down on their homes because of the depressed economy (I’m talking about a lot folks). I also learned that Detroit has huge pockets of cultures including one of the highest Arab populations in the country helped along by the auto industry for years.

What struck me about this conversation was that I was recently talking to my wife about a recent Forbes listing of “Top Cities for Jobs.” Texas has the top 5 on their list (Starting with Austin, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, San Antonio).

While discussing what this means for Texas in years to come we discovered their list of “America’s Most Miserable Cities” with Detroit coming in #7 among major cities. Among the reasons given are the scandals surrounding its mayor, continued decline of the auto industry, and the highest crime rate of any major city in the US. Only the success of the Red Wings and the winnings of the Pistons seemed to knock it off of its 2007 crown of Most Miserable City.

So, with all the people moving out of the city, and the growing rise of urban church planting, I wondered if anyone was moving IN to this city. I discovered this article and was encouraged by the families that have partnered together at great cost to advance the good news of Jesus to a city in need of joy.

So, I asked myself the same question I ask you.

Would you move to a miserable city for its joy in Jesus?

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