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January 25, 2018

5 Trends in Cities and Urban Ministry

By Daniel Im

5 Trends in North American Cities and Implications for Church Planting

Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan and Chairman of Redeemer City to City. He is a New York Times bestselling author and has sold over 1 million copies of The Reason for God and The Prodigal God. Tim Keller spoke about the 5 Trends in Cities at Church Planting Leadership Fellowship (CPLF) in November 2017.

CPLF is a community of church planting denominational and network leaders from across North America who gather twice a year for collaborative learning. CPLF works to provide church planting leaders with vital support in the form of research, resources, education, and connection with other church planters across North America. Learn more about CPLF here.

Take a look at these summary notes from Keller’s presentation on the five trends below or listen to the entire talk, as well as one on urban ministry skills here.

1. Reurbanization

  • Reurbanization is occurring because of the fifth migration (the fifth migration means a significant movement back into cities over the last 15 years)
  • The percentage of millennials wanting to move to cities has vastly increased
  • Immigrants often flock to cities to cluster with their language groups
  • Global cities are connected to the rest of the world
    • Most growing cities are global cities
    • Miami is an example of a growing global city
  • Reurbanization calls for an increase of church plants within cities

2. Gentrification

  • Gentrification happens when prices rise in a city, thus pushing out the poorer people
  • Most people have mixed feelings about gentrification, but gentrification is not a one-dimensionally negative thing
  • Gentrification often happens because there isn’t enough housing for everyone in cities with rising growth and popularity

3. Metropolitanization

  • With gentrification, cities are becoming increasingly expensive and poorer people from the cities are being pushed out to the suburbs
  • The suburbs are becoming urbanized, which means that suburban pastors need to grow in their urban skills

To read about the remaining two trends and hear about urban ministry skills that are now needed for suburban, urban, and also rural pastors, click here for the full talk and post.

These videos are part of Plus Membership. To get full access to them, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


  • We should all be experts on church planting.
  • There is more division in our country than there has ever been.
  • When demand for space in the city increases, cost increases. Cities are places people want to live but often can’t afford to live.
  • Nowadays, people moving to the suburbs are doing so because they are being pushed out of the city.
  • People are moving to metroplexes, and metroplexes are growing in multiethnicity


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Senior Associate Pastor of Beulah Alliance Church, a multiplying multisite church focused on reaching 1% of Edmonton for Christ. His latest book is You Are What You Do: And Six Other Lies about Work, Life, and Love. He is also the author of No Silver Bullets and co-author of Planting Missional Churches. He co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, as well as the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Because of their love for the local church, after pioneering and leading the church multiplication initiative for LifeWay, Daniel and his wife, Christina, moved back to Canada with their three children. For more information, visit danielim.com and follow him on social media @danielsangi.


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