It’s an old military trick.  Devise a strategy to deceive the opposing army into committing troops and resources to engage in a battle at a location where the battle is NOT going to take place. The Allies did it to the Germans in World War II by planting false information on a dead Allied Officer’s body and “letting” him wash up on shore with documents supposedly outlining invasion plans for a location far from where the real invasion was planned.  It kept thousands of German troops stationed away from the real invasion point.

Today, there is a spiritual battle for the hearts and souls of each person here on planet earth.  And as part of the Lord’s heavenly family, we are committed to working with Him for the salvation of men and women here in Pennsylvania.  Recently I learned that 60% of all those living in the United States reside in just 50 cities or urban centers.  And here in Pennsylvania, we have 2 of those large populated areas.  What is God’s call to us as Seventh-day Adventists for His mission, in light of this?

Ellen White already gave God’s call.  Over and over in hundreds of places God’s message through her is that Conferences are to especially make a concentrated and organized effort to place a priority on working in the cities.

“I am charged to exhort the messengers of truth to do without further delay the work that should have been done long ago in the large cities….  It is the positive duty of believers to do a decided work at this time in these centers of population. No longer are the multitudes to be passed by. … He forbids the continued expenditure of large sums of money in a few places where the message is already firmly established, when comparatively nothing is being done in many other places fully as needy as were those where so much has been done.” –Lt 28, 1910 (A. G.Daniells and W. W. Prescott) Portions of this letter are published in Evangelism and 10MR.

In fact, one time A.G. Daniels traveled by train across the United States to ask counsel of Ellen White, and she refused to see him!  She said, “Until you follow the counsel already given on leading a work for the cities, there is no reason to talk further.”

What a sobering and solemn thought.  How about God’s people in Pennsylvania?  Let us not let Satan trick us into avoiding the very places God has called us to minister to.  Let us be willing to rise to follow the counsel of God in this matter.  Let us pray for the work in our cities.  Let us support every effort to reach the masses in our cities.  And let us take up the work at our home church and in our home community, so that together we can hear the Savior say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”  (Matthew 25:21, KJV)


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Andy Clark on July 5, 2012 at 6:50 am

    “Recently I learned that 60% of all those living in the United States reside in just 50 cities or urban centers.”

    At a US population of nearly 310 million, we are talking about appx. 186 million

    To get to this number, the above quote is actually in reference to the 50 most populated Metropolitan Statistical areas. Pennsylvania has stake in three:

    New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island, NY–NJ–PA MSA of nearly 20million, and Ranked #1 most populated.

    Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington, PA–NJ–DE–MD MSA of nearly 6million… #6

    Pittsburgh, PA MSA #22 at nearly 2.5 million

    It takes the top approximately 275 ‘cities or urban centers’ to get to that 186 million mark, of which Pennsylvania holds 4: Philadelphia #5 @1.5 million; Pittsburgh #61 @ 307,000; Allentown # 216 @ 120,000; and Erie #271 @ 102,000.

    Pennsylvania is the sixth most populated state/territory at 12.7 million people.

    Using MSA data, the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia MSAs represent 65%+ of our state population, whereas using actual city/urban center data, those same two cities represent 15% of the state’s population.

    Why is this significant?

    As President Hartwell appropriately put it, we do not want our limited resources in the wrong place.

    A careful study of cities in the days of Adventist Pioneers through to today reveals two contexts that are in many ways incomparable. Just a few examples: In the days of the pioneers there were no “suburbs”, urban expansion, paved highways or public transportation for starters. City populations were concentrated and defined by treelines. The city stops where the farms start.

    If we are going to utilize statistics to define ministry, we should be contextual and consistant.

    The “60%” represented by our ‘cities’ obviously include geographical locations such as the Boulevard Church, Chestnut Hill, and the Pittsburgh Church. But to be consistant with the statistics that get us to that 60%, we are talking about Allentown, Fairview, Lansdale, Bucks, Souderton, West Chester, Pottstown, Carnegie, Uniontown, Butler, Meridian Road, Washington, as well as Philadelphia Korean, Philadelphia Spanish I & II among many others.

    We all have a part to play in the new reality of Metropolitan Ministry. According to the US census, 80% of the US population now lives in Urban areas. This is only true utilizing the word urban to encompass not only ‘cities’ as we traditionally think of them, but adding MSAs, CSAs, Urban clusters as well as micropolitan areas.

    When we hear false statistics (not mentioned by President Hartwell) such as “80% of our Adventist resources are where 20% of Americans live”, it is because we don’t understand the definition of Urban or US statistics.

    We have a high percentage of resource in Metropolitan areas. To completely refocus or belittle those resources to concentrate on smaller areas alone (city centers) would be incredibly unfortunate.

    If we want to be where the people are, should we concentrate on 1.5 million in Philadelphia? or 6 Million in Philadelphia AND the adjoining counties?

    Just a thought…

    ~Pastor Andy


  2. Posted by E. Douglas Venn on July 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Pastor Ray – Thanks for your vision to keep the “target” of reaching the cities for Christ!
    Your brother in Christ in reaching the cities across S.E. Asia – E. Douglas Venn


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