Thursday, September 11, 2008

The 10 Reasons to Plant a Church in the Bay Area

It's time for a shameless plug. I want to plant churches in the Bay Area, and I'm in search of those who share this vision. Thinking about where to plant? Why not come to Nor-Cal? Consider the following 10 incentives...

Let's start with some frivolous (and delicious) reasons to plant a church here.

10. Fenton's Creamery - It's been around for 114 years, so it has to be good. The portions are absolutely ludicrous. You will hurt yourself if you try to finish some of these sundaes. My Personal favorite is the Black and Tan . I'm still debating whether I can eat this and not (of necessity) commit the sin of gluttony.

9. Barney's Burgers - Tons of selection, and everything is good.

8. Zachary's Pizza - This place is a little slice of Chicago (or perhaps heaven) in the middle of the California. The Zachary's Special is my personal favorite. If I had to be stuck on a stranded island with just one pizza, this would be the one.

And now, some slightly more substantive reasons to plant a church here.

7. The Weather - Winters are a tad drizzly, but not too cold. In the summer, the fog keeps everything nice and cool in the morning/evening. In the early fall, the weather warms around 85/90. There's generally a cool breeze coming in off the bay. Moreover, the air quality is outstanding.

6. The Variety - If you like urban, you can't do much better than San Francisco. If you like lots of local flavor, Santa Cruz and Berkeley provide it in abundance. If you like the ocean, Half Moon Bay is just 30-45 minutes down the coast. If you like the mountains, Tahoe is about a 3 hour drive up I-80. It's tough to find activites you can't do here.

5. The Cultural Diversity It's definitely a difficult place to get bored.

4. The Relaxed/Communal Atmosphere. I've found people to be quite approachable in the Bay Area. There are real neighborhoods in various places, despite the fact that this is an urban center. This appears to bode well for the prospective church planter.

And now, some very substantive reasons...

3. Cities Influence the Rest of the World. As Tim Keller has noted, cities are what propel cultures forward. Cities like San Francisco and Berkeley have exerted tremendous influence on our cultural milieu, and universites like Cal and Stanford have helped to shape academia. When the gospel infiltrates cities, it seems that whole cultures are transformed.

2. The Bay Area is in Desperate Need of Good Churches. This is one of the most unreached places in America.

1. Jesus Wants You to. I'm not saying that Jesus is in fact calling you to plant a church in the Bay Area. Rather, I mean that if Jesus were calling you to plant a church in the Bay Area, this would constitute the single best reason to plant a church in the Bay Area.

Well, there you have it. If you don't feel the slightest inclination to plant a church here, I'm not offended. However (in all seriousness) if this is something you'd like to do, I'd love to talk with you about it.


c.c. said...

i'm not called to plant churches in the Bay Area (at least not up to this particular time), but i'm glad you are. i did have one comment/question, though. you mention the lack of good churches up in the Bay. i actually know of many good churches - but they are all either specifically for or heavily populated by Asian Americans. how do you think that factors into the game plan, if at all? (i'm not Asian, by the way, but i know a lot of Christians who are.)

warren said...

i'm part of a great little house church network called haven, based in the south bay.

i would agree that life in the Bay Area is pretty awesome, but at the same time, the life of a church planter is difficult here. people seem to have everything they need and yet are increasingly isolated. i have heard more than once that the Bay Area is a graveyard for church plants.

so buyer beware! don't come here expecting roses and a red carpet!

Carrie Allen said...

I'm on my way...


Damian Romano said...

The images in this post make me sooo hungry.

Jeffrey Bruce said...

Carissa - there are definitely good churches in the Bay Area. I just think we need a whole bunch more. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers here are relatively few. As to why the Asian American churches are succeeding, I haven't looked into it that much. I think churches here could benefit from being in much more integrated networks. There aren't a whole lot of Christians to begin with, so it seems wee need to be strategic and have a cohesive game plan.

Warren - cool to hear about the house church network. I'm very interested in starting a house church in the next 5 or so years.

Carrie - tell us when you're coming.

Damien - indeed

Chris Giammona said...

Having lived in the Bay Area for almost 4 years - was a Ruling Elder at Redeemer IN new York working with Tim Keeler, I can tell you what he told me when I moved there. SF is the most unchurched, secular city in America and he is right. While there are many good churches in SF/Bay area (many not solely geared to the Asian population), there is a tremendous need for more.

The PCA has a few plants in the Bay area - Berkeley, Marin, and Walnut Creek. City Church left the PCA for the RCA, but is a very strong church in the heart of the city.

I agree with Warren's comments that it is not easy for a church planter in the Bay Area unless you are part of a strong network of churches.


Anonymous said...

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also many simple churches and language churches