So, a question for us suburban church planting folk. If a church from out of town were to call you and say “We want to do a missions trip in your area.” What would you say? Would you have any ideas? I think most of us would be hard pressed to know where to send […]

So, a question for us suburban church planting folk. If a church from out of town were to call you and say “We want to do a missions trip in your area.”

What would you say?

Would you have any ideas?

I think most of us would be hard pressed to know where to send them. This is a problem, unless of course, the Kingdom of God has fully come in your town….

I know that most missions trips are to poor areas (which is very, very good since the gospel calls us to those places). But, how well do we know our suburban contexts? What would it look like to do a missions trip in these locations?

  • I would say, “Please come, and help us relate to one another.”

    I would enjoy hearing a street preacher outside Starbucks.

    Seriously though, I think it would be great if a church was planted in a house in suburbia. It could totally be made a community center (maybe there’s zoning laws against that?). It might look like any normal house on the outside, but inside it would have walls knocked down, with iconography all over the place. It could be a monastic community, with people living upstairs who also work to serve the community, providing daycare for kids, having dances, classes, etc. It would also be a house of worship.

    Of course, suburbanites usually don’t talk to their neighbors, so why have a church in their neighborhood if they’re not open to it? Honestly though, I would want to challenge suburbanites to actually engage somewhere that’s no more than a 10-minute walk from their house.

    I’m totally in the New Monasticism right now, so pardon my rambling.

  • But if the kingdom of God had fully come in my town, wouldn’t that mean there’s nothing they need to do in it – and so I would say “Thanks – but please stay in your own town and minister there – they need you!”

    I agree that the suburbs may need ministering too in their own way as much as poor areas. People often live very isolated lives in the suburbs. I expect there’s a lot of loneliness out there.

  • Chris, i think that new monasticism would be really interesting in a suburban context. especially since most of the new monastic communities are happening in urban areas. talk about counter cultural! you are the third person i have talked to about this idea from the well in two days. so, when is the well buying a house? 🙂

    helen, you are right, if the kingdom of God had come it would be perfect…i am fairly certain that the kingdom of God hasn’t come to any of our towns…

  • There actually are a few new monastic-ish communities in the suburbs. There’s one house I know of in the Chicago suburbs that’s a big suburban single-family home, would probably go for $800,000+. Several twentysomethings live there; their parents moved to Florida but decided to leave the house in Chicago for their kids to use. So it’s actually a center for Christian hospitality and activity; they host events and gatherings and missionaries on furlough and whatnot. Very strategic use of suburban housing.

    I heard of another fellow who figured out that there were something like 42 kids in their immediate block area, so they converted their garage into a community center for neighborhood kids to gather and play. It’s become a creative and strategic way of doing outreach.

  • Todd,

    This is my first visit to your blog. The question you asked in this post really resonates with me. I pastor in a suburban context, and I’d have a hard time offering a group of outsiders a place to do mission. That bugs me. It really, really does.

  • al, thanks for stopping by. i just ordered your book and am looking forward to reading it. suburban christianity has been a real issue for me lately so i’m excited to learn from someone who’s done more research on it than me.

    tom, visited your blog today from the ekklesia site…nice to “meet” you and look forward to meeting in october..