• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.
  3. Please note there is a new rule regarding the posting of videos. It reads, "Post a summary of the videos you post . An exception can be made for music videos.". Unless you are simply sharing music, please post a summary, or the gist, of the video you wish to share.
  4. There have been some changes in the Life Stages section involving the following forums: Roaring 20s, Terrific Thirties, Fabulous Forties, and Golden Eagles. They are changed to Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Golden Eagles will have a slight change.
  5. CF Staff, Angels and Ambassadors; ask that you join us in praying for the world in this difficult time, asking our Holy Father to stop the spread of the virus, and for healing of all affected.

Any one from Philadelphia here?

Discussion in 'United States Regional Forum' started by HatGuy, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. HatGuy

    HatGuy Some guy in a hat

    912
    +687
    South Africa
    Christian
    Married
    My wife and I think that God may be calling us to plant a church in Philly (from South Africa).

    We've visited Philly once and wow, what a city! Beautiful, and also full of challenges. We saw it from West to North and North East.

    I'd love to ask some Christians in the area a few questions about the city - cultural stuff; how people interact with each other etc. In an effort to figure out if where we are thinking of planting will be effective, especially since we're thinking of planting on the NJ side.

    Anyone keen to chat about this will be appreciated! :)
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. PloverWing

    PloverWing Episcopalian

    +2,856
    United States
    Anglican
    Married
    I live in southern New Jersey, about half an hour from Philadelphia. What would you like to know? And what kind of church are you looking to plant?
     
  3. HatGuy

    HatGuy Some guy in a hat

    912
    +687
    South Africa
    Christian
    Married
    Awesome, thanks!

    Firstly, the kind of church we'd be looking to plant would have the following broad distinctives:
    1. Strongly missionally focused, which would include nurturing leaders for further church planting, reaching out to the city, teaching on marketplace ministry
    2. Neo-charismatic when it comes to gifts of the Spirit
    3. Non-traditional, non denominational. We're connected to a network of churches that believes in autonomous local churches governed by a plurality of elders, in relationship and accountability to a larger network. No other churches who partner with our network are in the area, so we would be the first.
    4. Ultimately classical Arminian, with some Wesleyan distinctives on love and holiness.

    Those are the top distinctives right now.

    Questions:
    1.If we planted in Southern Jersey (Haddonfield, Cherry Hill), would Philadelphians make the trip to be a part of us? Or is the 20 minute drive and toll a problem?

    2. I kind of feel we need to reach into suburbia in an effort to encourage those in the suburbs to be more missional, into the city and regions beyond. We want to build a strong base church with families. What do those in Jersey and in Philly think of each other, and is there a lot of interaction between them? Also, what do you think of this goal? Is it something people resist?

    3. Is Cherry Hill, Haddonfield really small town vibes? Or is that just marketing?

    Those are my top concerns right now. Thanks for answering :) It seems you're ideally located to give me some insight. I really appreciate the time.
     
  4. PloverWing

    PloverWing Episcopalian

    +2,856
    United States
    Anglican
    Married
    1. It's pretty common for people to live in New Jersey and commute to Philadelphia for work. It's a little less common, but still frequently done, for people to live in Philadelphia and commute to NJ for work. A 20-minute drive isn't terribly long for people who are already used to commuting, but your church would have to be exceptional. If your church is a lot like the church that's two blocks away from where someone lives, they're likely to prefer the church that's closer. Note: Some South Jersey locations are near commuter rail train stops. Commuting from Philly is easier if your location is near a train stop.

    2. Philadelphia exerts a strong influence over South Jersey. They provide our TV and radio stations and our newspaper. Philly is often where you go if you want to see a concert, museum, or sporting event. Philly is very congested, and then the congestion eases up the farther you get from the city, so that by the time you're out in, say, Salem County, it's pretty rural. Churches with strong families and a mission emphasis are pretty common in both Philly and South Jersey, so you'd fit right in.

    3. Cherry Hill isn't really a small town; it's pretty congested and sprawling. Lots of businesses, lots of traffic. A high percentage of Cherry Hill's population is professionals -- doctors, lawyers, etc. I've only been to Haddonfield a couple of times, but it feels more like a town, if I remember correctly. I'm from further south, in Gloucester County, and we do have genuine small towns in my area.

    One additional thought: The northeastern US has a reputation for being non-religious, and it's true that we have a lot of non-religious people here. But we also have lots of churches here: Catholic, Orthodox, most of the mainline Protestant denominations, multiple conservative or Fundamentalist Protestant denominations, multiple Pentecostal denominations, and nondenominational Protestant churches, as well as SDA, LDS, JW, and Unitarian. You're more than welcome to come and add your church to the list of churches in the area, but be aware that you wouldn't be coming into a nonreligious area to present the gospel for the first time to people who've never encountered Christianity.

    We do have a fair number of lapsed Catholics and similarly lapsed Protestants in the area -- people who grew up in church-attending families and maybe were baptized, but who have no interest in the Christian faith. If you could reach them -- if you could present the gospel in a way that they could truly hear it and see how it could be relevant to their lives -- that would be a good ministry to have in this area.
     
  5. HatGuy

    HatGuy Some guy in a hat

    912
    +687
    South Africa
    Christian
    Married
    Thanks Ploverwing, this is great insight.

    When we visited Philly last year for about four days, it seemed to me that there were Methodist, Lutheran and Baptist churches everywhere, with a lot of Pentecostal vibes in inner suburbs and the city. I did struggle to find something like what we're used to, which is more evangelical neo-charismatic. Even on the Internet, or a Google Maps search, I couldn't quite find something like what we're used to. I found that tremendously interesting. A Google maps search for South Jersey shows a similar result, with the addition of Catholic and Anglican churches. Your insight seems a little different but not too far off from my impression. Thanks!!

    One last question. I know Philly is pretty diverse and prides itself in being so. How diverse is South Jersey?

    Thanks again so much for your time.
     
  6. PloverWing

    PloverWing Episcopalian

    +2,856
    United States
    Anglican
    Married
    It may well be that there's no church in this area that's exactly like the ones in your network, in which case there is an opportunity for a church like yours.

    If you're asking about ethnic diversity: This varies from one town to the next. Some towns are overwhelmingly white (Haddonfield, for example). Other towns are more diverse; my town is about 70% white, 20% African-American, 10% other ethnicities. In Camden, no ethnic group is a majority of the population. Of people who identify as white, a significant number have Italian ancestry. In summary, if you're looking for ethnic diversity, research the particular town you choose to settle in, because there's a lot of variation.

    Socioeconomic diversity also varies from one town to another. Some towns are wealthy, others have a lot of poverty, still others have a mixture of both.

    There's also theological diversity here. There are churches here, truly, that label themselves "Fundamentalist". It's on their sign out in front of the church. I'd never seen that before I moved here. At the other end of the spectrum, some (though certainly not all) members of the mainline Protestant churches are quite liberal theologically. And many Christians here fall somewhere in between.

    Historically, there's a significant Catholic presence here, and also a significant Quaker presence. I forgot to mention the Quakers earlier.

    I hope some of that is helpful. If you come to South Jersey, I'd look forward to meeting you and visiting your church.
     
  7. HatGuy

    HatGuy Some guy in a hat

    912
    +687
    South Africa
    Christian
    Married
    Thanks so much for the excellent advice. It's probably going to be quite a while for us as we go through the visa process, but I'd definitely love to meet a local when we come to visit :) Really, really appreciate it.
     
Loading...