5.5 MILLION PEOPLE
JAMAICA PLAIN (JP)
The city of Boston is made up of over twenty neighborhoods. Before going on this prayer tour in April, we asked the Lord what neighborhoods He would have us visit while we are there. He impressed a few upon my heart including West Roxbury, Newton, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Brookline, and Jamaica Plain. We visited several of these locations on our first day. However, we did not get to visit Jamaica Plain. Our realtor shared that she felt that would be a great place for us. Over the course of the next few days, as we met with local and denominational leaders, Jamaica Plain was mentioned every time. Therefore, on the last day that our family was in Boston, we made it a point to visit. We heard that they had a great ice cream place called J.P. Licks, so we made that our destination. As we sat down in this ice cream shop, I began to look at the diverse line of people. I saw many nations represented in open conversation with one another. One of our deep desires is for the church plant to be multicultural. Jason and I looked at one other and started crying as we both heard God speaking to our hearts. We knew at that moment that God was indeed calling us to Boston, and specifically to begin our journey in the neighborhood known as JP.
WHY PLANT IN THE CITY?
"The greatest missionary in history was the apostle Paul. As you read through Acts and note his strategy, it was pretty simple. He went into the largest city of the region (cf. Acts 16:9, 12) and then planted churches in that city. Roland Allan states it clearly, “All the cities, or towns, in which he [Paul] planted churches were centers of Roman administration, of Greek civilization, of Jewish influence, or of some commercial importance.
Cities are not the only places where churches are needed, but they are perhaps the most strategic places where churches are needed. If you want to influence a country permanently, it must be through its chief cities. The most recent census data indicates that more than four-fifths (83.7%) of the U.S. population in 2010 lived in the nation's metro areas. Cities are where people are and will increasingly be. Cities are centers of influence culturally, spiritually, and in nearly every other way. Cities are the gateway to suburbs and rural areas.”
Roland Allen, Missionary Methods; St. Paul’s or Ours? (Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1962 Reprint 1997) p. 13.
“New churches need to be planted across the U.S. Timothy Keller put it succinctly, “The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the numerical growth of the Body of Christ and the continual corporate renewal and revival of existing churches.” It makes sense when you think about it. New churches best reach new generations, new residents, and new people groups. McGavran and Hunter have demonstrated through dozens of studies that the average new church gains 60%-80% of its new members from people who are not attending any prior church, whereas churches over 10-15 years of age gain 80%-90% of new members by transfer from other congregations. New churches best reach the unchurched, and not only that, they simply grow faster. Research has shown that churches that are fewer than 100 people in size grow twice as fast proportionally than churches with 100-200 people. This would suggest that our country could be reached better if our strategy was planting lots of smaller churches rather than growing fewer large ones.”
Graham Beynon, Planting For The Gospel, p. 16-17