The Identity/Personality of a City

Today I was talking to my friend and she was sharing with me a conversation that she’d had with someone about how cities have personalities, or identities you could say and how do we recognize that and work with that when starting ministries in different cities, etc. The person she had been talking with before had said that Seattle is a very entrepreneurial city, as well as a very benevolent (I think that’s the word she used) city – think of all the companies that have started here and all the charities that started here as well. Anyway, it got me thinking about a conversation I’d had with someone a while back about a theory that a friend of theirs had about how different cities have different struggles – they were sharing how Prague’s seems to be fear and people struggle with fear a lot in Prague. Then I got to thinking about something I had recently read about a study that ranked different cities in the nation in terms of the seven deadly sins (Go here to see an interactive map ranking the cities).

Anyway, I was thinking about all this and thinking about ministry and business and all that. I think in a lot of ways in past years people in the church and people in business have treated cities like they are all the same (and in some ways treated people like they are all the same) – but it’s becoming more and more clear to me that cities are not the same. They have a personality and an identity and a focus all their own and they also have unique struggles and problem areas and sins all their own. A city really is like a unique individual person. It’s false to treat people like they are all the same – each person is a unique individual with a unique history and story, unique victories and struggles. So, why should we treat cities like they are the same? Why should we set up a ministry a certain way in a city just because it worked in another city? For that matter why should we set up a company a certain way in a city just because it worked that way in another city? If each city is unique (which I believe they are) then shouldn’t we attempt to take into account the unique identities and struggles of each city when we set up a ministry, a church or a business there? Shouldn’t we try to play to the unique strengths of that particular individual city and try to be aware of and fight clearly the struggles and sins of that particular city? Just some food for thought for you today…

Rejoicing in the journey – Beth Stedman