Just about every week someone asks me why we want to try and plant a church in Chicago. My short answer is…
“For over two years we prayed that God would lead us to (1) a major city in the US, that had (2) great ethnic diversity, and (3) hundreds of thousands of college students.”
As we prayed we saw God bringing Chicago to our attention as well as several close family members and friends who shared a desire to plant a church with us.
Why Chicago?…. It is not just a major city in the US, it is a major city in the world.
Chicago is one of only 10 Alpha Global World Cities as defined by Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC). These cities are: London, New York City, Paris, Tokyo, Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Milan, Singapore.
(An Alpha Global City is a city that has a direct and tangible effect on global affairs and more than just socio-economic means, with influence in terms of culture or politics)
Why Chicago?… It is an international mission field. The nations are in Chicago!
Over 200 languages spoken and approximately 2000 people groups in Chicago. It is a city of international cities:
* Chicago has one of U.S.’s largest concentrations of Italian Americans as 500,000 live in the metropolitan area.
* The city also has the largest Bulgarian community in the U.S.
* Chicago has the largest Polish population outside of Poland also making it the second largest Polish city in the world.
* Chicago is the second largest Serbian city.
* Chicago is the second largest Lithuanian city.
* Chicago is the third largest Greek city in the world.
* Chicago has the greatest number of Swedish-Americans.
* Chicago has the second largest Mexican population in the U.S.
* Chicago has the second largest Puerto Rican population in the U.S.
* Chicago has the third largest South Asian population in the U.S.
Why Chicago?… It is the college capital of the United States.
University of Illinois Medical School is the world’s largest medical school.
Columbia College is the world’s largest media arts school.
Chicago’s universities have some of the highest populations of international stu- dents globally. 112 countries are represented by 3124 international students and 793 more who are permanent residents.
52,000 college students live in Chicago’s downtown making it the largest concen- tration of residential student in any U.S. city’s downtown.
More than 300,000 students attend a college within Chicago’s city limits.
Over 500,000 college students call Chicagoland home.
Why Chicago?… There are tremendous needs.
Over 5 million of the 6.2 million living in the Chicago Metro mission field are still lost without Christ. Evangelical churches only claim 5.5% of the population.
To reach a 1:500 (one church of any kind/500 people) in every zip code, we need 11,212 more churches.
Over 400,000 Muslims reside in the Chicago area with new mosques being built annually.
Chicago houses one of only seven of the world’s Bahai temples.
Over 2.4 million Catholics live in Cook and Lake counties alone, making Chicago one of the largest Catholic cities in the U.S. The ten largest churches in Chicago are all Catholic.
Chicago is the fifth largest Jewish city in the U.S.
Statistics were taken from the research done by the Chicago Metro Baptist Association.