It’s likely that 30% of the 8 million + living in the Baltimore – DC Metro area attend church.
What about the 5.6 million that are left?
How many are living “in community” where they have relationships that help make life better? How many are actively following Jesus and enjoying the peace that only He can bring?
Jesus Christ is a life changer! He’s “God with us” and this matters. If you’re going to live “for best results” rolling your toothpaste tube up from the bottom, it’s best to get to know Jesus. It’s best to do that and share the journey with others. We like to say that in our church there’s “No Perfect People Allowed” and “Nobody Walks Alone”. You could say that the context of a local church is “God’s best” plan to help you with this life change.
Over the past few years, organizations like Lifeway have given plenty of attention to studying the Baltimore – DC Metro area. This all important “city” anchors the middle of the “I-95 Corridor”. You may be surprised that the US Eastcoast I-95 Corridor is home to more than 1/3 of the US population and produces nearly 40% of the US GDP.
Over the past 5 years, 274 new churches were started in the Baltimore – DC Metro area and nearly half of those were started by the Southern Baptist through their Strategic Focus Cities effort. (I have benefited from personal relationships with people directly involved in this effort.) Additionally, it is exciting to see that some of the nation’s most successful networks have focused on this region (see above link). This contrasts the fact the most of the mainline denominations are lacking church plants in the metro area.
In my experience it takes a great deal of time and effort to learn enough about a city to serve it in a way that is “for best results”.
Of course, there is no substitute for you going to God and asking for your personal: Who, What, Where, When, How, & Why? That is essential.
Read, study, and meet as many people as possible…asking questions…listening to people…you will hear the heartbeat of the city.
Then we begin to learn that there are unofficial “tribes” that exist in a city that can only be discovered through a robust research process. …or by living in the city and meeting your neighbors…by sharing your life with people who live and work around you. Through this we can learn more about the people who live in our neighborhoods, in the city, and how we can best help them connect with Jesus Christ!
Responsible hard work in this direction can help us avoid the mistake of listening to popular opinion about our cities, which is often less than accurate.
These demographic populations are growing the most.
- Outer suburbs – although the economy slowdown greatly slowed down this trend
- Hispanic population both in inner cities and older suburbs
- Suburban African America population in Maryland
- One denominational leader pointed to a growing African population in the city replacing the African Americans moving to the suburbs (this does not show up in a census study)
- First generation immigrants in older suburbs and inner city whose first language is not English
- 1.5 and 2nd generation children of immigrants everywhere who straddle culture but who experience life primarily in English
- Urban centers with many high rise apartments especially near subway stops that are filled with young adults who are predominantly Caucasian, but also Asian and African American
- Although the inner city poor population is not growing, it is becoming increasingly isolated from the church as thriving inner-city African American churches move to the suburbs to follow their constituents who are becoming middle class
We want to meet people who do not yet know Jesus Christ and do not have a “home” local church. Learning about our city will help us to that end.
It’s clear that more can be done to provide people, who do not have a home church, with just that. How about a spiritual family that feels natural?
This means that we need new churches for people without a church…millions of them. Let’s get started
You can pray for the 274 churches started in the Baltimore – DC Metro area. Prayer works!
You can support them financially.
You can ask God how He would like you to be more involved!