What It Takes to Stay Downtown


A dying downtown congregation can survive, even thrive, if it is willing to become a true inner-city church.
—Joel Hempel

Trying to function like a suburban congregation in downtown Cincinnati was not working for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. We realized that unless we became a neighborhood church, the prognosis was certain death. We were attracting few new people. The membership was growing older, and the leadership was getting tired. We might have survived another five years at best.

To survive, we began to realize, we could not be a suburban congregation whose only identity with the inner city was that we happened to meet in a downtown building. Major changes had to be made.

By God's grace, Prince of Peace now is growing slowly into an inner-city church. The principles that guided our change were revealed through the processes of prayer, listening to the neighborhood, and what I call graced luck: accepting the fact that when we stumble onto something that works, it is because God's ...

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