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The Church Downtown: Strategies for Urban Ministry
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Monte Sahlin points out that the March 11 issue of Christian Century has a major cover article on "The Church Downtown: Strategies for Urban Ministry." It uses Chicago to illustrate a number of recent trends in this arena.

For example, it describes Willow Creek Community Church's new church plant in the south Loop area of the inner city of Chicago. After one year, it has a weekly attendance of about 1,200 and has celebrated "40 baptisms, 440 people in small groups, community care for 50 people, 5 relief trucks sent to Louisiana, 850 prayer requests ... and 320 converts" to Christ.

"Intentionally multi-ethnic from the start," the new congregation rents the 4,500-seat Auditorium Theater. "The pastor, Steve Wu, was CEO of two companies before he quit to go into full-time ministry." The group is serious about transformation of the neighborhood, but it has taken a clear position against gentrification.

INNOVATIONewsletter, March 5, 2008, The Center for Creative Ministry