Joe Thorn over at his blog, http://www.joethorn.net, had this to say about the suburbs.
I have said all this before, but it bears repeating: I both love and hate the suburbs – and I think this is healthy and necessary. Finding stuff to love and embrace in one’s culture can be difficult, at least for some. Some are so focused on the present evil and corruption that any good has been pushed beyond their peripheral vision. On the other hand some are so in love with (idolize) their culture they ignore all that is wrong with it.
Right now it’s cool to love the city and loathe the suburbs, but I do not believe this reflects the heart of God. I believe God has a love/hate relationship with this culture. My culture. And I’m working hard to maintain that balance in my own heart. (originally posted at sub•text)
Here in the Delta there is a different paradigm. People love the suburbs and hate the delta or rural areas in the south. The suburbs have the nice large churches and the delta has shrinking congregations. The people who live in the delta want to live in the suburbs and if they can’t they live as if they are in the suburbs. They have the same cars, clothes, and attitudes of the suburbs. Are the suburbs bad to minister in? No. But where are the ministers and church planters in the delta? These men drive right through these towns in the delta to go to the churches in the suburbs. I hear the cries for church planters to go back to the city and I see in the suburbs church plants popping up every other week. Listen for the cries for the delta and you will hear nothing, but the sound of hopeless desperation.
Is the gospel geographically sensitive? Will the gospel work only in the suburbs and in the inner cities? I have nothing against the suburbs or the ministers that work there. In my State Convention there is little or no talk of the delta in the context of church planting. I know that the delta is tough, but so is the gospel. The only churches being planted in the delta are neo-pentecostal congregations. Southern Baptist are slowly fading away in the delta. In my association there are churches that have less than twenty people. As Joe said, there are things I love and hate about the delta. I see and hear every day the looks and sighs of hopelessness in my community. Our theology does not line up with our actions. For God’s Spirit can work here and build healthy churches. May God Bring Revival.