Fake News and Church Planting
Since when did fake news become a thing? We've more than likely always have had some sort of it from the time the first news sources came into being. Besides that, all media has some sort of bias, particularly in politics where some news outlets lean one way and others lean in the opposite direction. This then taints the interpretation of data.
We all do the same anyways, right? The glass is either half full or half empty. My answer to that is usually dependent upon whether I've had my coffee or not. But interestingly enough we do this all of the time in church planting. Before I moved to the Pacific Northwest I heard for years how "dark" and "insidious" this place was ... the "last frontier" in church planting. And then I moved to Portland and had to do a double-take. Apart from all of the Christian ministries, organizations, colleges, and seminaries there are more church planters and healthy churches than I can throw a hand-carved DIY-made hipster walking stick at.
In church planting you read constantly how "the world is moving to the city" ... "over half the world lives in cities" ... "by 2030 over 70% of the human race will live in cities."
All true. Pound the hand-carved DIY-made pulpit. However, once you look at the data you realize that while (a) it is true, (b) how "cities" is interpreted can be misleading. When we see stats or data about cities on a church planting website it is usually accompanied by background images of NYC, Chicago, Paris, London, Shanghai, and the like ... megacities. But that's not where most of the growth is taking place.
Globally the fastest growing cities are those of 250,000. In the US the fastest growing cities are those of a million or less.
So what does this mean? While the big cities continue to garner the most attention it is the smaller cities that need the love. Yes, rural communities continue to hollow out as people move to cities. But not everyone is landing in the San Franciscos or Seattles or Denvers. Instead they're landing in uncool (or cool) small cities that have growing industries. This could be places like Yuma, Arizona or Bellingham, Washington.
How should this reframe what we think of the geography of church planting?