Jump directly to the Content

Nine Options in a Changing Neighborhood

Churches in changing neighborhoods must choose their destiny.
—David Trumble

Consider a church similar to mine—white and middle class—that has served the people of its community faithfully for years. Then gradually, almost without notice, members begin moving away, some only a few miles, others long distances.

People begin talking about the new black or Hispanic family who just moved in down the block. The new folks seem nice, but they are different. Members dutifully stop by and invite their new neighbors to church. But becoming close friends seems a mutually low priority.

Soon, membership and attendance dip. Members begin to worry excessively and, ironically, become less active at reaching out to the community. When a few of the new neighbors actually visit, some members feel threatened: "If too many of those people join this church, I'm leaving!" Then again, some members enthusiastically open their arms to the newcomers.

As more minorities move into the neighborhood, church leaders are ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
Learning to Love Our Neighbor’s Fears
Learning to Love Our Neighbor’s Fears
We aren’t all equally afraid of the same things. But Scripture’s wisdom can apply to all of us.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.