Monday, June 04, 2007


This might sound cynical; but it's merely a question I've honestly been wondering about today. When there is an overwhelming population in America that's desperately longing for someone to help them, love them, share some truth with them, and teach them relational access to God, why do we keep investing all our time and money into suburban Christians who aren't open to real help, love, or truth and don't care enough about God to even read their Bibles everyday?


Jeff said...

a. There is more money in suburbia
b. There is less violent crime in suburbia
c. People care about sanitation in suburbia
d. All of the above.

Yeah, that is a cynical list, and quite possibly it isn't fair. But there is an air of truth about it.

But in a less cynical analysis, the church needs two kinds of people: those who need ministry, and those who enable ministry. In shorthand we could call them the "takers" and the "givers".

I don't have proof that it is true, but the perception is that "givers" are more common in the suburbs.

Bob Carder said...

Because many professing Christians are selfish and stupid.

I was amongst them and now I am set free and sorry for my part in contributing to the problem.

We need to go back where the real pain is and show them who Jesus is and why He is their real answer to life and death.

deanmc said...

To steal (and give props) from Jeff and Bob, I believe that most western Christians are selfish and takers. They want "their" Christianity to not cost them anything.

For the giver, the senior pastor of most churches is so overwhelmed by the needs within the church that "ministry" made available to the church is found within the church.

And a final tangent would be that I don't think that we have enough "goat and sheep" theology (Matt 25). I know that we shy away from that passage because of fear of convincing people that it is works and not faith by which we are saved, but isn't it just as dangerous to not teach about those works?

Brandon said...

If you were going to open a new business where would choose your location? The ghetto or the suburbs?

The thing I like about inner city ministry is that you don't have to "convince" anyone that they have a need. In suburbia you have to first convince people that they are in need.


Al said...

Boys, boys, boys... The bitterness is a bit thick!

I wonder if this problem has something to do with a Christianized American Dream. I believe the American church as a whole incorporates the American Dream into its borderline health & wealth theology. We can start believing that it is our right - or even what God wants for us - to persue "happiness." We believe it's our right to live in a safe neighborhood, in a single family home with just the perfect amount of backyard, etc. etc., even when this persuit begins to take the place of our ministry to others. I was there for a long time, so that's why I make this observation.

Another thought, maybe a tangent... a question I find myself asking a lot is "who is my neighbor?" A problem I see with churches that are too suburban or maybe just churches that are too inward focused is that their immediate neighbor doesn't seem to be too needy. It's a pretty easy task to love a suburban neighbor who has a lot in common with you. Maybe this is appealing, or maybe it's just easy.

John Lynch said...

Hey Aleta, I resonate with the notion of defining "neighbor." As much as I'm a fan of proximity living and ministry, I recognize that a strictly proximity approach in the suburbs destroys diversity and real interaction with the ultra-needy. Shane Claiborne says he believes the problem isn't that Christians don't care about the poor but that Christians simply don't know the poor.

I also just read something from Lyle Schaller where he explains that the poor normally aren't "joiners." A corporate approach to church practice requires a "joining" culture... i.e. a suburban culture.

Brandon, I also like what you said about not needing to convince the needy of their need. For a truly "going" people, that seems to be the "white harvest."