The US Census bureau released new data at the end of September, and I thought it would be good to point out a recent article in St. Louis local news about the data. The article is called, “St. Louis Shows Biggest Gain in Foreign-Born Population of 20 Largest Metros,” and you should click the link to read it.
Apparently, St. Louis wins the trophy for biggest gains in foreign-born population. What is more, they are actively trying to recruit them.
I have discussed other articles that talk about cities trying to attract foreign-born residents, and this article makes the same point. Contrary to a great deal of popular rhetoric out there (especially surrounding the political campaigns), much data is indicating that increases in foreign-born residents actually strengthen economies in these cities. That is one big reason that many major cities are now in a race to win these residents to their area.
Foreign-born residents are much more likely to start their own business. In fact, they are currently twice as likely to start a business as American-born residents. There is no wonder cities want immigrants.
That said, here are a couple of things to note in the article, and then I will draw a couple of conclusions for your church:
St. Louis won this year, but other cities had massive growth too. The article points out that St. Louis had the highest growth, but that several cities were right on its heels. Minneapolis, Seattle, San Diego, and Houston all put up big numbers when it came to foreign-born growth. These cities are all already known as hubs for international residents, and that trend is continuing to climb.
The St. Louis Mosaic Project is an intentional initiative. It was started in 2013 when St. Louis had an immigration rate that the article calls “sluggish.” The goal was to reverse this trend, and apparently they are doing something well. The thing to notice here is that many of America’s most successful cities are trying, proactively, to diversify their community.
Of course, the takeaways for ministry are all over the place. If your church is in one of these cities, then the nations are at your doorstep. For all of us, however, we need to take note of the trend and realize that we should be looking for this phenomenon near us as well. Local church ministry in the United States is simply changing, and so is the way that we will be able to do missions.
Consider the benefits of partnerships with international churches in your city. Think how you can work together to reach unreached peoples right around you. Then, consider how this connects to work in the home countries of those in your city. Imagine planting a church here that raises up workers to go back there. Or, consider how that works in the reverse. Many churches in places like India are sending young men and women to study in America. What if, by partnering with your missionaries overseas, you could connect these incoming students with a mission field when they got here?