"Until you step into the unknown, you don’t know what you’re made of." (Roy T. Bennett)
Over the past couple of decades the geographic focus of mission has turned decisively towards the city. Not only that but the urban core. Cities do matter because in each country that’s where the bulk of the population lives. At the same time don’t let the word “cities” or “urban” fool you. For example, the United States is over 84% urbanized (meaning people living in cities). However, that could range from massive cities like New York City to Los Angeles to what we’d even consider a small town like Hood River, Oregon … population 7,000. Cities matter whether large or small.
With the geographic shift towards cities and the urban core (or city center) also comes at a time of rapid gentrification and population inversion. As a result, particularly in the United States, urban cores are becoming “Whiter” and more affluent. Lower income families as well as families of color are moving to the urban hinterlands … first ring suburbs, etc. Suburban poverty rates have eclipsed their counterpart in the city.
The focus of Intrepid is overlooked places and marginalized people. In cities historically that has been a moving demographic. The current state of many cities means that we have a heart and passion for these communities which are less and less in the urban core. Instead they are out in the lower density parts of the city with a lot of mid-century housing stock and ugly strip malls. Yes, cities do matter and should be a priority for mission. It’s just that our focus is on the overlooked, unsightly, non-trendy, and uncool parts of the city where most church planters tend to avoid.