Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Urban Church P̶l̶a̶n̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ Plantations

If you are preparing to do [urban ministry] and you’ve never had a non-white mentor, you are not an [urban minister], you are a colonialist. – adapted from Soong-chan Rah

Last week I had the honor of meeting with a group of urban pastors who’ve devoted their lives to serving Buffalo, NY. While discussing the challenges they encountered while doing urban ministry in a predominantly non-white, socio-economically oppressed city, the black, Hispanic and Asian pastors with whom I met raised a familiar issue, one that I’ve heard and witnessed all over the country.  Same story, different city.
Buffalo, like many other urban centers, has faced a shrinking population and declining business interest for decades.
But things rapidly changed in December 2013, when NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan  in which he pledged to invest $1 billion in Buffalo, with the goal of transforming the beleaguered city into a high-tech center. Not surprisingly, suburban folks who’ve long abandoned the city are suddenly eager to return and participate in (cash in on?) the urban renaissance.
This doesn’t surprise me one bit. This is how capitalism works in the U.S. empire.

The urban pastors reported that, in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s announcement, many predominantly white, wealthy suburban churches in the area have expressed renewed interest in Buffalo’s urban center. But rather than connecting with the urban pastors who have been doing ministry among the oppressed in Buffalo for years, and looking for ways to support the indigenous leaders who are already in place, they have simply begun making plans to expand their suburban ministry empires into the urban center. In other words, they’re venturing out into the world of urban church planting.
Read the rest here

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I saw the exchange between Lennard Small and Todd Frenier and I am convinced that knowledge and education can cause ignorance. If Lennard feels this way about the black church than he should change it and make it discipleship based. But when he speaks of the church in the way he did it gives white churches another excuse as to why they do what they do in this situation. Then hear comes Todd trying to downplay the race issue. These are two ways that cause this race issue to continue in America. If capitalism is their outake on tuis situation then they must know that there can be no real fight against capitalism without first having true racial reconciliation. ~ LeWinfred Shack