Sandy wrote:Ed Pettibone wrote:These efforts in many cases are still fulled by the false Idea that these areas "have no evangelical christian witness".
That's not a false idea. There are a lot of places where there is no "evangelical" Christian witness in large segments of major Eastern cities. I just finished a week of working with church planters here in Pittsburgh, and in one of the most densely populated areas of the city, the only "evangelical" church, which I would define as one that preaches the gospel message and ministers with the intention of reaching people for Christ, is the SBC church plant. The United Methodist church in the neighborhood closed at the end of May, and the few remaining members merged with a Methodist church several miles away. The ABC-USA congregation, Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, put its building up for sale in April, and disbanded. The Presbyterian church affiliated with PCUSA disbanded a year ago, their large, well appointed facility sits empty. There's a Catholic church in the neighborhood, but I don't consider them "evangelical", nor the Lutheran church in the neighborhood, which is mostly an elderly congregation in a maintenance mode. The SBC church plant, a congregation of about 50 that is about half African American, will probably lease the old Methodist building because it has more space than their current facility.
Sometimes existing congregations do not have the energy, or the ability, to be evangelistic in their neighborhood, and they are in maintenance mode. That's not evangelistic.
Ed; Note Sandy I said "These efforts in many cases are still fulled by the false Idea that these areas "have no evangelical christian witness". There may be places where there is no evangelical Wittiness but I have not seen them in any Northern city or area where I have lived and been a part of Baptist life. Fort Wayne, Indianapolis & MArion Inn Indiana, Cincinnati Oh., NY Capital Area, (Albany, Schenectady, Latham, Clifton Park Troy and Rensalear sp ). I would say the same for the Southern cities and towns where I have lived Birmingham, Meridian Mississippi, Arkadeliphia, Ark., Fort Myers & Tampa Fl., Louisville, Ky.
Your anecdotal narrative about the area where you recently "..finished a week of working with church planters here in Pittsburgh, and in one of the most densely populated areas of the city, the only "evangelical" church, which I would define as one that preaches the gospel message and ministers with the intention of reaching people for Christ, is the SBC church plant", leaves me unconvinced, due to the lack of substantive information that can be verified.
Here are are nine pertinent questions your narrative raises for me.
A. How large is this area? Is it in any way distinguished from surrounding areas? How many zip codes are covered?
What are those zip codes.
B. Where is the population data that confirms the claim that this area is "one of the most densely populated areas of the city" ? What is that density? Are there distinct demographic groupings?
C. How stable is the population? How many have lived there more than 2 years, 7 years, 10 years, i5 years.
D. What is the median household income? What is the employment status of residents under age 65.
E. How many residents attend churches outside of this area?
F. Who is financing this SBC plant? And how long is their financial commitment?
G. What is the furthest distance a resident of the area would need to travel to reach a church that meets your standard for an evangelical witnesses?
H. Are the Church planters with whom you worked indigenous to the area? How about the members they have gathered.
I. Has any effort been made by the SBC planters, to coordinate with the local ABC-USA or any other Baptist denominational entity already present in the environs of Pittsburgh ?