Tim Keller has written convincingly about the importance of urban ministry:
More Christians should live long-term in cities. Historians point out that by A.D. 300, the urban populations of the Roman Empire were largely Christian, while the countryside was pagan. (Indeed, the word pagan originally meant someone from the countryside—its use as a synonym for a non-Christian dates from this era.) The same was true during the first millennium A.D. in Europe—the cities were Christian, but the broad population across the countryside was pagan. The lesson from both eras is that when cities are Christian, even if the majority of the population is pagan, society is headed on a Christian trajectory. Why? As the city goes, so goes the culture. Cultural trends tend to be generated in the city and flow outward to the rest of society.
People who live in large urban cultural centers, occupying jobs in the arts, business, academia, publishing, the helping professions, and the media, tend to have a disproportionate impact on how things are done in our culture…
I have taken up the call of the late James Montgomery Boice, an urban pastor (at Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church) who knew that evangelical Christians have been particularly unwilling to live in cities. In his book Two Cities: Two Loves, he argued that evangelicals should live in cities in at least the same percentage as the general population. If we do not, we should not expect much influence in society.
It’s easy to apply this to top-tier cities like New York and London. I live in Toronto, the city that Canada loves to hate. We have lots going for us but we’re not really world-class – yet.
But check out this article:
Urban thinker Richard Florida says Toronto has a fresh energy that places it among the world’s most powerful urban centres, and that’s one of the reasons he’s moving here.
Once a “third-tier” city at the level of Minneapolis, Toronto is now “one of North America’s top five or 10 cities,” among the ranks of such “second-tier” cities as Los Angeles and Chicago, Prof. Florida said…
…Florida firmly establishes himself as a booster of his new home, calling it “the most international city in the world,” and saying it could one day compete with top-tier cities like New York and London.
Overstated? Maybe. But I’m becoming more convinced that Toronto is a strategic place, and I love being here. I think more of us need to unpack what people like Keller are saying in the context of Toronto.