We are in a new day. With growing urbanization in the United States, we need to prepare leaders for the next generation. It will look like something we have yet to see.
Even America is changing, and it’s changing fast. Urban is no longer limited to the inner city. Urban defines any area that is dense with population and diverse because of the density. It is in this day that living in a city means having neighbors who don’t look like you and are not even in the same socio economic status as you. Statistics show that by the year 2042, minorities will be the new majority in America. By 2023 – only about a decade away – it is said that more minority babies will be born in America than Caucasian babies. These stats are showing that America is certainly changing, and it’s going to look very different, very soon.
Currently, more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. In 2030, 60 percent will live in urban areas. With gentrification, urban is no longer defined as just “black.” It is now defined by density, as all the cultures collide in the cities.
We even see a shift in music. Hip-Hop music used to be the genre of music for minorities; today, CNN states that it is the leading genre of music used by major companies as the marketing medium their products. These facts were not true in the past.
So what am I saying? Historically, when minorities have used the term “city” or “urban,” it has been taken to mean “inner city.” Although the inner city is encompassed in the urban context, it no longer defines it holistically. When I refer to urban, I am speaking about density–and with this density, you will have diversity. Today, America is the most diverse country in the world. However, Sunday morning is still the most segregated day of the week–our churches are not following the transition that America is taking. If the church doesn’t begin to make the shift, we will be irrelevant in the decades to come.
So what’s the problem? Leadership- or rather, the lack thereof. Thus far, this conversation, in regards to the church in America, has been dominated by one voice–the voice of the majority. The response of minorities has been to create something “for us by us.” You can see this manifested in environments like Asian ministry and African American ministry. What’s more, we have just become “tokens” in the majority conversation, but with no real input. Minorities are repeating the mistakes of the majority culture, because they are operating out of the homogenous framework–not taking other cultures into serious consideration in their contextualization of the gospel. We are where we are because of the leadership. Minorities need to help create a new framework, and it is important that the new voice is one of diversity. We need a generation of minorities raised up to lead the church–a generation that doesn’t just speak to pockets of our “new urban,” but one that embraces the city holistically. The Rebuild Initiative seeks to be an answer to this leadership problem.