In our last post on urban mission we saw that urban church planting will often need 1 or 2 missionaries for the long haul and an expectation that most workers will be indigenous from the community.
This means that our primary focus on urban planting and urban revitalisation isn’t on huge numbers of people coming in from outside. This means that some of the suggestions we’ve talked about regarding urban mission including encouraging students and graduates to join these churches won’t be the silver bullet solution.
However, this does not mean that they shouldn’t come. Here are some reasons why.
1. We don’t want a church that is segregated by race, age or class. More than that, we don’t want communities that are segregated like that. We should be appalled at the idea that someone will be allocated to a particular street or estate based on their skills, earning power, ethnic background etc. However, that’s often where we start from. So we do need people to start crossing the boundaries.
2. Students and graduates may well be from estate inner city backgrounds themselves. You don’t have to leave behind your own heritage because you have progressed in education and/ or your career. The challenge here is when we see education as an escape route.
3. Just one or two people can make a huge difference to the life of the church.
4. There is a strong likelihood that the three years at Uni will be so formative that they will normalise your expectations for church, mission and Christian life. Negatively, if your sole experience of church is one that caters primarily to students and graduates, you are likely to look for that experience in the future. You will either avoid, be frustrated by or try to change churches that don’t fit the mould. On the other hand, the formative experience of being engaged in urban mission/ church life during your uni years may either encourage you to stay with that church and move into that community when you graduate or to be involved in urban church/ mission later in life elsewhere.
A little footnote for discussion. One of the Great things we’ve seen in recent years is less tribalism between denominations and traditions. However given that I understand churches in our Brethren tradition used to be more likely to get students travelling out to them from the Uni, does this mean that this break down of tribal barriers has created an unexpected challenge? Drop us a note with your thoughts the feedback page