the smallest number, but the highest goal. St. John’s is only about 6
miles from the city limits of America’s third largest city. Sadly,
ministry has declined rapidly in America’s urban areas, while the world
increasingly grows more urban. In our denomination (The Lutheran
Church—Missouri Synod or LCMS) the 5 Great Lakes urban areas of Milwaukee,
Chicago, Gary, Detroit and Cleveland lost 95% percent of their worshipping
communities between 1960 and 2000. There are similar stories in many
Christian communities in the region.
In Chicago alone the
statistics are staggering. On a typical Sunday in the city of Chicago a
little over 3,000 people gather in LCMS churches, where that number once
was nearly 65,000.
Many of our members
have roots in Chicago churches. Many come from the city. Many more work in
the city. Surely our calling is to pray for a new harvest in the city
and to pray,
“count us in” to Go-the-Distance for the city. Our most challenging goal
will be to partner with or plant a new ministry that produces fruit for
the sake of the city and the Kingdom of God.
That’s a key part of our
denomination's “Ablaze” emphasis. Healthy churches reproduce.