Some years ago with the launch of initiatives like city to city and others there was a great emphasis on reaching the cities. And I can see why, globally people are moving to cities, so there is some strategic sense in resourcing churches in the cities. Though we have temper that by remembering that not everyone moves to the cities, and we mustn’t resource cities at the expense of everywhere else.
But there was a fallacy that I think was embedded in much of the conversations about reaching the city. It was that we would reach the suburbs and outlying towns from the cities. As we’ve seen that just doesn’t happen, and we can’t afford to wait another generation to see if that changes, hundreds of thousands of eternities are at stake. Cities hoover up people, city churches often seem to do the same, very few (though there are notable exceptions) seem to then plant out of their cities, or even equally across all areas within a city, just look at the preponderance of plants and churches in student areas or young professional or family area and contrast it to the most impoverished parts of a city.
I wonder instead if we’ve got it wrong. What about if we resource the town churches so that when people move to the city we are sending well taught gospel hearted people. Leaders trained up as they grow up in churches in their towns so that if (not when) they move to a city they are ready to engage in mission already.
There are lots of things about this focus on city planting that I think need challenging. But I wonder if fundamentally this switch in thinking would help.