ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- Many church planters -- Dhati Lewis and D.A. Horton among them -- define urban as the meeting place of diversity and density. Both men are urban church planters and have been described as practical missiologists.
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"I have a passion for urbanization -- it needs to change the evangelical landscape," Lewis, director of Send North America's Rebuild Initiative with the North American Mission Board, said. "You can't talk about urbanization without talking about globalization and how it affects the church."
As an example of urban trends, USA Today reported that in 2013 public transit use in the United States rose to its highest level in a half century. Since 1995 the number of people who ride on buses, trains and subways is up 37 percent, surpassing the population increase of 20 percent over that same timeframe.
In most cities, Lewis noted, people will find a shift in urban communities toward wealthier residents, businesses, and an increase in property values.
"In Atlanta they moved to decentralize poverty by eliminating concentrated low-income housing, dispersing people as much as possible," he said.
A trend of more people living in poverty in rural and suburban areas than in cities began in 2006 and continues. Lewis cites an Aug. 9, 2013, article in USA Today reporting on a study by The Brookings Institution on suburban poverty and how its rise impacts the political, social and economic landscapes. There is a redistribution of the poor taking place, he noted.
According to the Brookings report, during the last decade "major metropolitan suburbs became home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population" centers in the United States.
Tapping U.S. Census data and the American Community Survey five-year estimates from 2007 to 2011, the study found poverty increased in the vast majority of congressional districts during the 2000s. Poverty grew in 388 of the 435 districts. Many of these included portions of the "suburbs within the largest 100 U.S. metropolitan areas."
When Lewis isn't leading Send North America's Rebuild, an effort to help urban churches create systems for healthy discipleship, he pastors the inner-city congregation, Blueprint Church. Read More