Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Urban Church Planting?
      Traditionally when one considers missions, the mind pictures mud huts, thatched roofs, dirt floors, and very poor people.  When we think of missionaries headed over seas to serve, we imagine sacrificing all creature comforts to live amongst the very poor.  This thought has been enforced because early missionaries did exactly those things.  Much of pioneer missionary work was rural in its origins, and often done amongst the very poor and needy.
     But is that the extent of missions?  Is there some command in scripture that says to 'go only to the poor'?  Did Christ come to save the poor only?  We all know this is not the case.  So what is my point?  That will be what this blog post will seek to explain.
     We were sent out as urban church planters.  We were sent to Guadalajara, not to look for the poor and needy, but to look beyond that group, to the middle and upper middle class. It's always been easier to go to the poor. 
      In terms of Evangelical witness Guadalajara has been called the 'zone of silence'. This is a city of 4 to 7 million people.  A very modern city. But, they need the Lord.  So we live in a very modern city, with all the amenities.  We live in a gated community with middle class people.   We see affluence all around us.  Our desire is to bring light into the darkness, to be a witness for Christ.  
       How does one do this?  Door to door worked well when we were working with blue collar people in Chihuahua, and was used very successfully by Fred Friesen in Nicaragua.  This approach however would not work in a middle class urban setting. One needs to gain trust and build a relationship.  How does one do that?  How does one enter into a new culture, meet people, understand them, gain their confidence and move the relationship to a life changing one?  You need to enter their world and listen to them... build trust. Initial stages require 'putting many hooks in the water'. In Canada you might 'connect' by joining a hockey team in the local rec league (or some other sporting interest), join a book club, scrapbook, or some such thing. Or, what would you say - where would YOU go, how would you be intentional about meeting others with the purpose of sharing your faith? In Guadalajara we continue to look for these 'connectors',  seeking to join the folks here on 'their turf'. Please pray that we will have wisdom and courage to do this well.
urban middle class interests

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