Developing Strategies for Reaching Cities
It is popular, because of accessible global travel and instant world news, to refer to our modern world as a “global village.” It would seem to be more correct, however, to speak of the world as a “global city.”
The Urban Challenge
Today more than half the world population lives in cities. In 1900 only 8 percent did. The spectacular growth of large cities on our planet creates an awesome challenge to the Christian Church on all six continents. There are presently 300 cities of over a million people and within 20 years there will be 570. It is projected that by the end of the next century, two-thirds of the world will live in one of 1,660 mega cities of over a million residents each. That is phenomenal growth from only one mega city in the 19th century (Barrett 1986). Clearly a Sovereign God is urbanizing the world.
Much of this exploding urban growth has been in giant cities located in the Two-thirds world. Of the seven cities in 1950 with over 5 million residents, only two were in Asia, Africa, or Latin America. By 1985, 22 of the 34 giant cities were in the developing world. By 2020 it is estimated that the Two-thirds world will be home to 80 of our globe’s 93 giant cities (Fox 1984, 179-85). Towns are becoming cities, cities are becoming metropolises, and metropolises are becoming megapolises. Everywhere we look there are people, people, people – lost people who need to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. What will be the Church’s response?