This is New York State’s second-largest city, and the entire metro area (which encapsulates Niagara Falls) 1.1 million residents.
City officials and enthusiasts are currently focusing on downtown urban revitalization, and helping the city move out from the shadow of its abandoned steel mills into being a center for banking and high-tech manufacturing, according to research websites. The city is on the charts as one of the most affordable places to live in the United States, and though the population took a dip right after WWII, it is on the rise again. The growing population and budding industry gives Buffalo the potential to be a vibrant and growing place to plant a church.
No matter what people group a minister feels called to reach, there is probably a group of people in Buffalo who speaks his language. And that can be taken that literally, since this is also a state center for refugee resettlement. More refugees are actually resettled by the state in Buffalo than in New York City, and this metro area is actually in many ways a lot more diverse than New York City as well.
According to local ministers, the people of Buffalo are passionate and proud, liking to be a part of building and developing new things, and liking the idea of church done in a different way. They find it refreshing, actually!
The majority of Buffalo residents, on paper at least, identify as Catholics. However, most have had negative past experiences regarding religion. The key to connecting with them as a church planter is to find the good in what they’ve experienced, connect it to the Gospel, and be a genuine witness and example of Christianity done right. Don’t be afraid to be “a little rough around the edges, yet real.” The people here will embrace you.