Planting Pastors in the New America: A Case for Civic Advocacy Training

In today’s urban ministry climate, people are not content to settle for “lip service” anymore.

I was at the National Latino Evangelical Association a few weeks ago. After I spoke, I was on a panel with several Latino leaders. One of them was Dr. Elizabeth Rios. She is writing her dissertation (for her second doctorate!) on involving church planters in training for engaging in civic advocacy. I asked her to share some of what she learned with you!

If you’ve been anywhere near the pulse of the evangelical church in America in the last few years, you know that there has been a push to plant more churches. You may also be aware that there are organizations and networks that have been started to discover, develop, and deploy church planters, increasingly in cities and urban centers.

Increasing urbanization and multiethnic diversity have made planting churches in major cities a pressing necessity. Subsequently, we’ve seen an increase in church planter conferences, seminars, and trainings that address, at some level, the many skills planters need to be successful, especially those seeking to plant in urban areas.

So What’s the Problem?

The problem is that we are not necessarily in rural Kansas anymore.

Planting a church and pastoring in urban centers have changed because America has changed. In today’s urban ministry climate, people are not content to settle for “lip service” anymore. Too many times, they exhibit no real evidence of genuine concern for sustainable change in the community.

The reality is that we are living in a time when a church’s work and presence outside the walls matter to people just as much as the worship services. And let me be clear: I’m talking about more than a backpack drive or the monthly soup kitchen outreach. While these things are good, they just won’t …

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