The Urban Planter

This article first appeared in GO WEST!

By Tom Lavigne

I’ve noticed a few changes (understatement) since we moved back into “Urbania.” Vancouver, BC, is where I was raised – and now return to after thirty years of living in Northern British Columbia and Alberta.
• I’ve gone from a land of open spaces, breathing room, light traffic and low density to a place of close proximity, tight spaces, traffic indigestion and high density living.

• I left Urbania as part of the cultural majority and have now returned as a visible minority.

• I’ve come from a place of limited choices to a centre of unrestricted options.

• From closer knit families and friendships to a land of many people yet little sense of community.

So how does the Urban Church Planter live out the kingdom of God in multi-culture, multi-options and multi-people Urbania?

Southside Community Church is the multi-congregational church my wife and myself are a part of. Southside’s values include living “in and for” our community. Our core families engage incarnationally on the mission of God desiring to impact our neighbours in Urbania.

Here are some good reads on the topic of the Urban Planter:

David Broodryk has written a terrific article, “Re-thinking Urban Church Planting,” about some insights and strategies for addressing the uniqueness of kingdom life in an urban context.

Dr. Sean Benesh @seanbenesh has written several intriguing books (including Metrospiritual: The Geography of Church Planting and View From the Urban Loft: Developing a Theological Framework for Understanding the City) that delve into engaging the urban culture with the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ.

At the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada we have several people planting churches in the downtown core of our cities – seeking transformation while living with those on the margins. We’d love to hear your stories of planting new churches in urban contexts.

Bye for now, I have to leave early to avoid rush hour. Until next time,

Tom Lavigne, Director of Church Planting

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