Faith Communities Today
New Fact Information
Adventist Churches in Metro Areas
Less than two out of five of the relatively few Adventist churches located in America's metropolitan areas are in the more visible downtown areas and newer suburbs. This limits public awareness of the Church and tends to marginalize its witness and ministry. Just 36% of pastors report that their church is located either downtown or in a newer suburb. This was a follow-up question and two-thirds of the respondents in the national sample were not asked this question because they had previously indicated that their church is located in a small town or rural area outside any of the metropolitan areas.
"Downtown" refers to the central business districts of the nation's 362 metropolitan areas. These are the most visible neighborhoods in the country where key government centers, major corporate headquarters, important hospitals and universities, and some of the widely used commercial, entertainment and cultural facilities are located. Many of the religious institutions located in the downtown areas are well known and influential, with a highly visible witness
The newer suburbs are also the most desirable for residents with the best facilities, schools and shopping centers. These communities account for most of the population growth in the metropolitan areas. Because of the large numbers of new families moving into these communities, there are many more opportunities to connect with people at a time in their lives when they are more open to ministry. Many of the best-known Christian megachurches are located in the newer suburbs of major metropolitan areas.
Note: You can establish if your church is located in one of the nation’s 362 metropolitan areas by downloading from www.census.gov a PDF file that contains Appendix II of the Statistical Abstract.
1. What is the location history of our church? Were we ever located in a metropolitan area? If we were a metro church but are not now, when did that transition happen? Why?
2. What kind of neighborhood is our church located in now: downtown, urban, newer suburb or older suburb? How does that influence our mission and ministry?
3. What does the location of our church indicate about the kind of missionary strategy we should be pursuing?
New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry.