It is 630 feet tall and stretches 630 feet wide. It is made of more than 886 tons of sparkling stainless steel. The Gateway Arch is one of the first things you see as you cross the Mississippi River and drive into St. Louis. It is strikingly simple as monuments go. No bright colors. No flashy signs. Little artistic flair.
However, underneath, it is massively complex, a monument to engineering brilliance. During the construction phase, plans called for each side to be built simultaneously and to meet at the top. To make this happen, engineers allowed for only a 1/64th of an inch margin of error (and the smallest mistake could have led to disaster).
Because it is strikingly simple on the outside and amazingly complex on the inside, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch is a perfect metaphor for the city itself.
With 79 neighborhoods, each having their own distinctive styles and personalities, St. Louis exemplifies the melting pot personality America has always claimed to have. The 2.7 million residents of metropolitan St. Louis speak at least 110 different languages.
For generations, the Gateway City was known as America’s gateway to the West. Today, for Southern Baptists and other evangelicals, it is a gateway to reaching the world.
But as is true in most large American cities and their surrounding suburbs, evangelicals have not been able to start churches to match the city’s great diversity. Less than 18 percent of metropolitan St. Louis residents are affiliated with an evangelical church. Over 50 percent of residents aren’t affiliated with any religious group—Christian or otherwise.
Though some of the oldest Southern Baptist churches in the city have been around for as long as two centuries, there is still only one SBC church for every 7,866 people in metropolitan St. Louis.*
St. Louis Southern Baptists hope a church planting boom in the Gateway City will transform St. Louis in a new and fresh way.
“With changed people comes changed communities, with changed communities comes changed neighborhoods, with a changed neighborhood comes a changed city,” said St. Louis church planter Kenny Petty.
Through Send North America: St. Louis, Southern Baptists throughout North America have an opportunity to help start new churches in the Gateway City. These new partners will play a crucial role in planting at least 75 new churches in the city in the next five years.
Churches interested in partnering with church plants through Send North America: St. Louis can click the “Send Me” tab at namb.net.