During my visit to the US I’ve had a real desire to help out the struggling economy by contributing to consumer spending–also known as the activity of shopping. However, one quickly finds that Downtown St. Louis is, no offense, pretty boring.
As in many places in small-town America, city centres are for corporations, exhibitions, monuments, festivities, and tourists. The real life is further afield, in this case in Clayton and the Galleria. A fair effort is done to revive downtowns, I’m sure, but this is the current picture.
Is it the same with the church? Are North America and Western Europe the struggling downtowns of adventists, with historical value, financial strength, and corporate headquarters, when the real action is out there in South America, Africa, East Asia, and other places? Membership growth is centered in these areas, whereas in the Western societies it is at best stagnating.
The session offerings will benefit mission efforts in big cities, but even these will benefit largely third-world cities. In North America, the sole city selected for this effort is Montreal, Canada–hardly the first city you would think about. What about New York, L.A., Chicago, and D.C.? Is the battle lost in these cities?
Is Church Sprawl–both from city to country, and from Western to third world societies–just something we must accept? Isn’t there anything we can do to revive our downtowns of Europe, America, Australia, and other places? Unfortunately, it’s a tough one to answer.