Suburbia and Christianity

Our church is located in suburbia.  This is our ministry “context.”   Therefore, to ministry effectively, we must understand how suburbia impacts us as Christians and how we as Christians can reach suburbia.  Albert Hsu (pronounced “shee”) has written a book The Suburban Christian (2006) (you can find the introduction and chapter one online).  In it, he seeks to contextualize life as a Christian in the suburbs.  He writes

As we examine how suburbia has influenced our Christian practice for good and for ill, we will consider ways that Christians can redeem the suburbs.  How has suburbia shaped our Christianity, and how might Christianity shape the suburbs (14)? 

For those who minister and/or live in suburbia, these are questions that, in my opinion, we must be asking.  There are majors and tracts for urban ministry in colleges and seminiaries, but not many (none that I’m aware of) that emphasize suburban ministry (or exurban as it’s sometimes called).  I wonder why since over 50% of America now lives in a suburban setting.  As the urban sprawl continues (with no end in site), churches will soon occupy these new areas.  So how do we effectively reach suburbanites?   

If you have been thinking through this issue, I would appreciate hearing from you to understand what questions we should be asking so that we can begin forming answers in this quest.

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4 thoughts on “Suburbia and Christianity

  1. Hi David, thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear any thoughts you have formulated, even if seminal. I know you have been involved in a suburban ministry for many years. In fact, it is probably becoming increasingly urbanized in a way.

  2. Doug,

    I will work on it, but can’t promise anything anytime soon, since I am at language school right now and up to my ears in studies. Maybe we could get together sometime this summer for lunch and talk about this informally? We will be back in MN from May 16 – Aug 1.

  3. David, that sounds like a good plan. I hope you make good progress in language school. Fortunately your wife can be a tremendous help to you in your language development (as she is, undoubtedly, in a multitude of other ways).

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