Miami: rich, poor, lost—all at the same time
Miami is a city of paradoxes. It is often viewed as a 76-degree paradise of glitz, bling, flaunted wealth, South Beach nightclubs, bay-front mansions, flashy cars and fast boats—all part of the glamorous “life-in-the-fast-lane” for the celebrities, pro athletes and rich who live here.
A 2009 study of 73 world cities by Swiss bank UBS ranked Miami as the richest city in the United States, and the world’s fifth-richest in terms of purchasing power.Forbes ranked Miami as the third most overpriced city in the United States. Nearby West Palm Beach was sixth and Fort Lauderdale was 17th.
But paradoxically in 2010, Miami was also sixth—with more than a fourth of its population—on the list of large U.S. cities having citizens below the federal poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Only Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Milwaukee and St. Louis ranked higher in terms of citizens living at the federal government-established poverty income level.
Rich or poor, famous or not so much, one thing is certain: The people of Miami and South Florida need Christ.
"Miami is an expensive place to live,” said Gary Johnson, director of missions for the Miami Baptist Association. “Only a third of Southern Baptist churches own their own property here because of expensive real estate costs in Miami. Another challenge is many of our churches are hurting financially. It takes a lot of money to reach the poor people, and those are the people most interested in our ministry.
“Fifty percent of the Miami-Dade County population was born outside the U.S.,” adds Johnson, citing statistics compiled by the United Nations. “We are the only place in the country that can claim that.”
Half of South Florida’s SBC churches are located in the Miami Baptist Association, which serves Miami/Dade County—about 330 churches and missions. Broward County’s Gulfstream Association has about 200 churches, while Palm Lake Association serving the West Palm Beach area lists another 100.
Considering joining God's mission to reach Miami? Visit namb.net and click "Send Me."