At first glance, Kansas City, Missouri, appears to be quintessentially Midwest—complete with baseball and barbecued ribs. Early 20th century writers regularly referred to it as “The Most American City” because of its relatively high percentage of native-born citizens. No big city is closer to the geographic center of the continental United States. And it serves as a gateway to the “breadbasket” of the country’s Great Plains.
But take a closer look, and you’ll find more than just a place for good barbecue. Matt Marrs, a native of Kansas City and its NAMB Send City missionary, says despite the city’s rural heartland image, it has a growing urban core that looks like many other big North American cities. Big businesses have set up camp in the metro area, and they include Hallmark, H & R Block, Russell Stover Candy and Garmin. And though in years past the majority of residents were native-born, now foreign-born residents make up close to 6 percent of the population and that number is on the rise. A recent Wyandotte County (Kansas City, Kansas) ethnic festival drew locals from more than 60 nations.
While much of the growth is good, it has come with the many of the problems associated with large urban cities. According to CNN Money, the city’s murder rate ranks ninth among big cities and tenth in the crime index. And the Kansas City Star reported that the city has become a hub for sex trafficking.
Kansas City needs Jesus. Only 20.1 percent of residents in the metro area claim to be evangelical, less than half the percentage in some southern states. Southern Baptists have been on the Missouri side of Kansas City since the city’s founding shortly before the Civil War. But today the metro area has only one Southern Baptist church for every 7,587 residents.
Church planters, pastors, partners and individuals are working to bring change. Because of the variety found inside the metro area, Kansas City offers diverse ministry options—from involvement in pioneer church planting on the Kansas side to urban ministry in the city core to revitalizing dying churches. Now is the time to intercede and make a difference, one neighborhood, one person at a time.
From planting a church to partnering with those already on mission in Kansas City, you and your church can make a difference; connect with us to learn how.
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