Urban Realities

Sao Paulo

“Within a year or so, more people will live in cities than in the countryside for the first time in human history: the 21st century will be an urban one. But increasingly, the urban core itself is downsizing. Already, half the city dwellers in the world live in metropolises with less than half-a-million residents. Second Cities—from exurbs to regional hubs, resort towns to provincial capitals—are booming.

Between 2000 and 2015, the world’s smallest cities (with under 500,000 people) will grow by 23 percent, while the next smallest (1 million to 5 million people) will grow by 27 percent.”

See the full Newsweek article, “Unlikely Boomtowns” at MSNBC

What are the implications for the Christian movement?

1. Can the movement adopt to forms of community that are appropriate to such urbanization?
2. What type of transformation is necessary for the leaders of such church expressions in order to adapt to this sociological change?
3. Since theology is never the same as truth, never neutral and always done within a context, how does it continue to adapt to the urban scene? While there has been good urban theology done the past fifty years, I am suspicious that it is inadequate for such a future. Sixteenth century theology is woefully deficient for 21 century urban realities.

5 Responses to “Urban Realities”

  1. Tom Middleton Says:

    Do I get credit for turning you onto this article, or is that just part of being Ministry Asst. to the President

  2. Tom Middleton Says:

    As I engage with God through Colin with inner-healing prayer, I am wondering if your most recent blog regarding what is necessary to go to places such as the Middle East is exactly what is necessary to bring healing and see the powerful Kingdom of God descend in these new boomtowns. I wonder if postmodernism is precisely the metacultural shift that will enable westerners to be open to the very power of God that will bring forth His Kingdom?

  3. Sam Says:


    1. Sorry. No credit is granted for referring me to the article. Serving incognito comes with the turf!

    2. The postmodern shift certainly means that Western culture will be more open to the realities of the supernatural. In this sense, I believe postmodernism is akin to premodernism and even animism. In such cultures and societies, the “excluded middle” (Hiebert) is no longer excluded. Unless we know how to live and minister in that reality, we are left trying to carry on a fight in the supernatural realm with our hands in cuffs.

  4. Tom Middleton Says:

    It seems then that part of our training for urban missionaries should include working in this reality, not just becoming aware of it. I don’t mean dealing with demonic presences manifesting themselves in places like St. Petersburg only. But also seeking the kind of training in healing and casting out of demons to achieve healing in the lives of individuals that the disciples received from Jesus. If Leanne Payne, in her book “Healing Presence” is right, and I believe she is based on my burgeoning experience with this, living a whole and healed life before God will demonstrate to our neighbors much more effectively than apologetics that Jesus alone is Lord.

  5. Sam Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. As I said in my previous reply, it means people knowing “how to live and minister” in that reality which is more than just becoming aware of it.

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