New Initiative Aims to Plant Churches in Underserved Urban Areas

Mikaela Mathews | Contributor | Friday, November 20, 2020
New Initiative Aims to Plant Churches in Underserved Urban Areas

New Initiative Aims to Plant Churches in Underserved Urban Areas

Pastors Thabiti Anyabwile and John Onwuchekwa have started a new initiative, called The Crete Collective, to minister to Black, Hispanic and Asian American church planters.

“The Crete Collective would place at the center of its work the concerns, ideals, aspirations, frustrations, struggles, and realities of black and brown neighborhoods in all of their diversity,” Anyabwile, also a pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC, said, according to Christianity Today.

“We would enthusiastically encourage the kind of holistic discipleship that sees gospel preaching and justice as siblings rather than as enemies. We’ve got a whole range of issues that we have to care about in our communities…immigration challenges, prison reform, hunger, homeownership,” he continued.

Though many networks have worked towards equipping minority church planters, many major movements remain “white and suburban and male,” according to Len Tang, director of church planting at Fuller Theological Seminary.

The Crete Collective, named after Paul’s command to Titus in Titus 1:5, hopes to center its outreach in poor communities. Anyabwile shared that he used to believed that many new churches were planted in underprivileged neighborhoods but he “discovered that a lot of it is happening in gentrified neighborhoods, and redeveloped neighborhoods, and kind of hood-adjacent neighborhoods.”

The collective will mobilize other leaders to concentrate in communities “with people who need not just the gospel but good neighbors.” Within two years, the Crete Collective hopes to launch six churches in poor urban neighborhoods with high populations of Black, Hispanic, and Asian American residents, as well as strengthen current churches operating in those areas.

Though Anyabwile was once a part of the Southern Baptist Convention, the new network will not affiliate with any denomination.

“It’s past time for this,” he said. “I think this could be home to a lot of congregations and a lot of Christians who are looking for a place where they could comfortably hold fast to the gospel on one hand and equally tight to justice and love of neighbor with the other hand.”


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Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ehrlif

Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.

New Initiative Aims to Plant Churches in Underserved Urban Areas